Friday, November 15, 2013

The Sky Speaks To Ryokan \ After

Nancy:  The Zen poet and monk Ryokan (1758-1831) came into our lives one year and has reappeared occasionally ever since.  He has been cheerful at times, even uproarious, but here he is taking his leave.

The Sky Speaks to Ryokan

Old monk, you are shivering
your bed quilt is thin.
Your rice basket is empty.

      Ryokan nods,
      what the sky says is true
      and the mornings are dark,
      and the tea is thin as well.

Ryokan says, Sky,
teach me to do as I must
even as you –
you who bring ice and snow
on this rough home,
who bring the sadness of leaving
to my heart.

      It seems that silence may be a teaching.
      The sky is watching
      as Ryokan takes the path.

      Watching as he leaves the first poem
      of the journey tied to a twig.

Alan: A few words about a place beyond words or the need for words.


After the last words have been spoken,
after the last endearments have died away,
the last, whispered I-and-Thou’s,
after we have exhausted our meagre vocabularies
and our paltry imaginations,

love, impalpable as gravity, holds us
in this hollow of space-time we have made for ourselves,
and to the pillow we rest our heads upon.

I hold you now, asleep in the slow-breathing room;
you, a world clothed in darkness,
and me, your ever-watchful moon,
looking down.

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