The goddess of the heart
embraces equanimity and joy.
Touching the present moment, we come to know the past created the present and together the future is being created. ~ Unknown
Just as you unreel the thread from a spool,
I want the past to become present.
The wife of Yoshitsune, a famous warrior in medieval Japan, wrote this farewell poem shortly after her spouse was deployed to the northern provinces where he later died. She offers to us our creative ability to mentally bring the past alive and into the present.
… “Time goes from present to past.” This is not true in our logical mind, but it is in the actual experience of making past time present. There we have poetry, and there we have human life.
~ cited in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki
with each lightening flash,
each roll of thunder, rice and
the world grow richer
seen in a flash
of lightening, the riverbed
looks utterly dead*
The Spring of My Life and Selected Haiku Kobayashi Issa,
trans: Sam Hamill
In a world
of lies–why not blossoms
that don’t fall ~ Sogi*
cited in Steven D Carter, Haiku before Haiku
Roget’s International Thesaurus: applying color, explanation, learning, lighting, ornamentation, painting, picture, radiation, teaching
how colorless, now–
fields where I took bush clover
for my garden ~Satomura Genjo
winter’s slumber before January’s snow
should I hold them in my hand,
they will disappear In the warmth of my tears,
icy strings of frost ~Basho*
where I planted seeds
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Standing at the Threshold
With uncertainty, I question:
What is it that I seek?
Protection? Compassion? Acceptance? Forgiveness? Completion?
Who is it that I beckon?
A father? A mother? A sister? A brother? A companion? A child? A god?
To be? To endure? To offer? To embrace? To validate?
An intentional presence that is drawn upon
A place and time of shadows, myths, and dreams?
Birthed within a family?
Matured within a relationship?
Nourished within a community?
Where the Stillness within Silence,
Affirms the exchange of life’s giving and taking,
Embraces the connection of life’s emotional threads, and
Observes the interdependence of life with non-judgmental awareness,
Yet, knows of a united oneness with another that can not be?
Since it can not be, do I yearn
To know integration through the formation of thought;
To see clarity through the flowing of ink; and
To feel completion through the act of creating?
And then, finally, within the stillness of silence,
An internal companion with whom
There is an honoring of the who and what of which I am;
A woman, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a wife, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother.
With reverence the presence of all that was, is, and will be.
The seeking, the beckoning, the yearning to the Winds of Change.
I with uncertainty, Step over the Threshold
Foreseeing the return.
You can learn about the pine only from the pine, or about the bamboo only from bamboo. When you see an object, you must leave your subjective pre-occupation with yourself; otherwise you impose yourself on the object, and do not learn. The object and yourself must become one, and from that feeling of oneness issues your poetry. However well phrased it may be, if your feeling is not natural—if the object and our self are separate—then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit. ~ Basho*
On New Year’s Day
each thought a loneliness
as winter dusk descends ~Basho
Along my journey
through this transitory world,
new year’s housecleaning ~Basho
*cited in Issa’s The Year of My life. Trans: Nobuyuki Yuasa