Czech photographer, Josef Sudek (1896-1976), known as the ‘Poet of Prague’, was drawn to desolate landscapes, simple, solitary objects and the quiet, unpopulated street scenes of Prague, a city to which he dedicated his whole life. He was the first photographer to be honoured by the Republic with the title of ‘Artist of Merit’ and in his 70th year, his life’s work was recognised by the ‘Order of Labour’. (cited: Huxley-Parlour Gallery)
On and on, always on and onAway from you, parted by a life-parting. Going from one another ten thousand “li,”Each in a different corner of the World.The way between is difficult and long,Face to face how shall we meet again?The Tartar horse prefers the North wind,The bird from Yüeh nests on the Southern branch.Since we parted the time is already long,Daily my clothes hang looser round my waist.Floating clouds obscure the white sun,The wandering one has quite forgotten home.Thinking of you has made me suddenly old,The months and years swiftly draw to their close.I’ll put you out of my mind and forget for everAnd try with all my might to eat and thrive.*
*cited: Trans: Arthur Waley, Project Gutenberg A Hundred and Seventy Poems. Note: The above poem is from a series known as the Nineteen Pieces of Old Poetry. Some have been attributed to Mei Shēng (first century b.c.), and one to Fu I (first century a.d.).
The arising and ceasing within a ksana* occurs very rapidly. During any particular moment, we see flowers as red and leaves as green. In reality, they are constantly changing from ksana to ksana, and after a while, they will wilt. Within each ksana, they are perpetually growing and wilting.
In this world, how can there be any flowers and grass that will never wilt? How can there be any tables that will not be subjected to destruction? Because all phenomena and existences are arising from ksana to ksana, all phenomena and existence are therefore ceasing from ksana to ksana. There is a saying, “When a young man snaps his fingers, sixty-three ksanas have gone by.” Time goes by very fast. Youth can disappear in a flash. A ksana is indeed an extremely brief and short span of time.
*A ksana is a tiny unit of time, approximately one seventy-fifth of a second. It is an imperceptibly small amount of time, and all kinds of things happen within the space of a ksana that elude our conscious awareness. For example, it is said there are 900 arisings and ceasings within each ksana. I suspect the number 900 is not meant to be precise but rather is a poetic way of saying “a lot.”