Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ryokan Under The Great Circle Route \ the animals

Alan: Ryokan has come into our poetry in many different guises.  For me, he often leaps unexpectedly through time and space, hopscotching “normal” existence, a sort of Zen poet Dr. Who.

Ryokan Under The Great Circle Route

Ryokan watches the contrails
spread across the stars
under the moon above Mt. Kugami.
Portents of a future
glowing and fading in the dark.
Too content to sleep,
he takes his brush, writes: “In the void of no-being,
all things are.”  With five quick strokes
draws moon,
mountain, three lines across the sky.

Nancy: I wrote this after hearing a news item about the siege on National Public Radio. 

the animals
                                          Sarajevo, 1993

zoo under siege
keepers at first
ran the gauntlet

bent double
food for the beasts
dodging bullets

the beasts
were old friends
had no nationality

but war is insatiable
war ate the food
war ate the keepers

the beasts ate the trees
even the bark and roots
even the dirt

one another
ate even their young
even their mates

the great bear
died of starvation

except for the mortars
the zoo is quiet
unless you happen to hear

or wind
in the rubble

a voice saying
leave this planet
while there is time

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