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The Journey to the West

Though we journey to the West We pray to the East More or less that's the way Each day begins and ends It’s a tale everyone ...

Friday, September 23, 2016

The First Day of Fall

The first day of fall
Feels so very fateful
The light slightly askance
It's one of those days
On which you look and see
The crazy cat in an entirely
More munificent way
Less deviant and sinister
Yet clearly left leaning still
As she saunters across the lawn
We're somehow all free
No longer epigones of ourself
The Board of Editors collectively
Has looked and passed
Now it's time to decide
What to do about it

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Autumn Thoughts (Bai Juyi and me)

Every day for the last two weeks, weather permitting, the blue jays have come to feast on the sunflowers, pecking away until they were all but stripped bare of seeds; and all the while the sunflowers held their ground unflinchingly, only yielding begrudgingly, like Prometheus chained to the rock.  Until today, wan and haggard, the sunflowers finally appear to be on the verge of collapse. 

There’s no longer any point in denying that the change of season is upon us.

So here to celebrate autumn’s arrival is my translation of a poem by Bai Juyi

Autumn Thoughts

Bai Juyi

The moon shines down
Upon the north chamber
Brightness fills the courtyard
Illuminating the steps

A cool breeze stirs
From the west
Now the green world prepares
For days and nights
Of decline and rest

The paulownia and willow
Will slowly diminish their shade
The orchids and lilies will swoon
Into the tangled undergrowth  

Such things warrant
Close personal study   
At least my heart
Is inclined that way

Contentment may endure
Even as strength declines
Everything rises and falls
In Heaven’s appointed sequence

Thus a lifetime passes
Like sparks emitted by a flint
Pleasure comes frequently
Even as the hardship returns









*  *  *  *  *

With many thanks to my friend Steve Zhang for helping me better understand the last verse!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Two Questions Every Incubus-in-Training Ought to Consider

Here are two essay style questions that every incubus-in-training or bardo spirit should be prepared to answer prior to advancing to the next highest level or degree.

1.  Do you think the neighbors can see your incandescence any more clearly than a shadowy wraith or wisp of smoke or as any less grainy than the nightly news can be viewed from across the front lawn?

2.  How firm a grasp do you really have on your essential being, given that Self forever seems to be both revealing and concealed, protean and fleeting, much like a flickering flame?

Photo by Jim Clayton - @JimClayton05

Thursday, September 15, 2016

By the Crooked River (by Du Fu)

The fall of one blossom
Diminishes spring
How much more sorrowful
This wind that
Strips the bough clean

And how I long  
For a blossom
More enduring 
To be inured to this pain
The wine stains my lips

By the river I see
The blue winged kingfisher
Perched in its nest
While above the burial mound
The stone Unicorn crouches

It takes only a delicate push
For us creatures
To know pleasure
What’s the use worrying
About good name
Given our stumbling ways