Julia Revitt - Unsplash
Authored by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved.
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- Respect the Creatures
- In the Fire
- How Far
- Mind’s Gift
- Feel the Black Soil Sing
- Not Simpler
- Out of the Other Language
- Loosing Go
- Han Shan’s Mountain
- Plum Buds
- Seeing World
- This Place
- Immortal, Ephemeral
- Going Past
- One Universe, Shining Empty Meaning
- Cool Breast
- If Not
- Spirit Road
- The Free Trail
- Make the Soul
- Silk Screen
- Age of the Child
- Old World
- Inward Destruction
- A Prophecy
- February Blue
- To Think a Thought
- Slipping By
- One River
- Other Lives
- By Dreaming
- Another City
- Free At Last
- Granite, Cloud
- Be Free
- Another Kind of Faith
- Energy, Moment and the Individual
- Index Of First Lines
spirit is depth,
the body profound.
Five years love
to four days being,
all things charged,
the earth electric.
This species has
no destiny, accept it.
It’s vanishing is
of no account,
but in ourselves
the whole universe
of stars and silence.
Love is depth,
Respect the Creatures
Long slopes of burned-out trees,
clinging mist in the grass,
somewhere there I saw a creature passing.
Flicker of brown or grey, a life,
a meaning, deep as ours, deep,
valid as our seeming.
Respect the creatures,
they too feel, always their depth
is our depth, their past is ours.
And learn a little about consciousness,
what feels is aware,
mind is projection,
of self onto all things.
In the Fire
Waking at night on the empty beach, watching
the edge of Scorpio rise, one jewelled claw,
the head a ruby, dark clouds on a dark horizon,
slow breeze from the bay, wild memories,
the heart’s shamed bitterness, stones and sand.
Memory not of night, nor summer, nor the sea.
Your face pale in silence, prelude to forgetting,
mask of the fine unreason that lies in relationship.
Love’s not desire, desire’s not love, and the blessed
co-existence of the two a gift, of light, of mind.
Waking at night to the slow milk of the waves,
the radiance of shells, the dark of driftwood,
hearts gripped by tense fingers, ice-cold, burning.
Say it, say what we were, an immense fire,
that exhausts this life, this world, this being.
We have to speak more quietly, we need,
this species, to say less, to talk more gently,
to learn the universe, you and I, far beyond
the commerce and the wars, blent, curled alight,
like these bright twigs now, curling in the fire.
The stars from such a distance,
all those fossils buried deeper
in space-time, hard to focus,
on our littleness, on theirs.
Your eyes far-off, buried gleaming
under closed lids, shine of all the eyes
of all the centuries, in another time
the other space, that of mind.
How far back under the galaxies
we go, feet mark time in the sand,
the footprints here, like gull trails,
through ash and lava, no people.
In some poems the reality hardens,
language sets down a spine of stone
in ridge of rock under miles of ocean,
to be raised one day, angled to the eye.
How small, like leaves pressed together.
Your warmth is the fire from all those lives,
heat against the dark, against the cold, what
un-mans, our transience, our amazing beauty.
Don’t be trapped in all that vacancy,
that absence of the spirit, mute mind,
bricking its own walls in, this is not
this is not what we are, this ‘civilisation’.
You know it. Under every face,
in every eye, the burning, the spirit.
Don’t be fooled by all that reason,
whereby we tell ourselves the mad is sane,
the crazed is sensible, that dark is light.
You are not you, but always something other,
history’s a flame, no more than that,
a shower of incandescent sparks across the night.
Don’t be less than you can imagine,
or believe in more than mind’s transience,
spirit is not owned by religion, nor does
the universe arise from what we think.
We have not even begun to understand,
inventing gods and demons, not ourselves.
Free yourself with the creatures, the sacred,
the pain we cause defines what we are,
and what we create, our aspiration,
made of the dust of every star, we form
the temple, life is meaning, beauty, truth
and love, are the mind’s gift to the dark.
Feel the Black Soil Sing
Hands in the earth,
so read, write,
what eases spirit,
and not what
the heart disturbs,
put your hands
in the earth.
Feel the soil cling,
remember what we are,
the darkest creatures,
among the claws, scales,
feathers of the light,
remember who was first
who will be last,
feel the black soil
It gets barer, more naked, not simpler, deeper,
like the oak-tree’s coils of steel in moonlight,
the mass of plants, leaves dark on the field,
and dark-light crying of the water-birds,
across the lake’s metallic, rippled, silence.
Things learned, the things now forgotten,
things gone, things found, things known,
the savage endless mysteries of the spirit
what can be felt, what never can be told,
the universe beyond, and a stiller music.
In evening depth, here, all along the wood,
there’s one clear break of sky, no sign of rain,
owl and fox calls, light down through branches,
pale stains of curious silver, patches, iced
no fine detail, and each shadow a surprise.
And Mars, down-wind between rags of cloud,
bright, russet, ochre, fixed and flowing fragment,
over intricate earth, pure complex piece there
of all the net, organic glittering, the mass,
all the order, all the chaos, this life, this being.
Out of the Other Language
Slowly summoning the Masters,
walking with shadows, beating bounds,
placing one word on another, until
the opaque mind grows luminous.
Dipping the dark heart in the pool,
and writing in fire on the wall,
tracing it in gold on the screen,
where the silent figures run and bow,
Conjuring, spirit like a wand to draw
meaning, always, from the fading edge,
out of the other, sweeter language,
forging the lovely bitterness of this.
Blue cloud and white
On an edge of rock
fluttering with the birds.
This pine is red, this
the breeze sings
in a jar of glass.
You think you know
who you are,
the beauty of mind,
can’t be sure,
When the earth shakes,
this valley shakes,
these cliffs, the body,
all our law.
Black winds and hills,
can’t see the stars,
all the heart though
burns like a furnace,
no more ties,
no more nets,
the brilliant eye.
Han Shan’s Mountain
Han Shan’s mountain in the mind.
Cross the light-years, find it there.
On the solid circuit of new planets
Behold, an age-old recognition.
Beauty of light in its given form,
not what we could make, as boughs’
complexity, the small twigs interlaced,
the bright, the overlapping levels,
or a galaxy, for some human ship
sliding sail-less through the silence.
Cross the light-years and find it there,
Han Shan’s mountain in the mind.
Plum buds, cherry buds,
that tiny bird a wren,
the hedge sparrows dark
new moon, white sickle
cuts down the grass
with silver cry.
Plum buds, apple buds,
no mind, stop the
a process, not a process,
no matter, for a moment
(eternal light) be free.
Plum bark, cherry bark, apple,
pigeon on roof, tree, sky,
long glide down through
all the forms burning
in your eye.
Seawater, dark, the interior greenness,
salt in the eyes, and ice on the skin.
We can dive down through this planet,
come out transparent on the other side.
Pools, caves, cliffs, sand, the mica glints
seal rocks, stone, a hand-turned shell,
turns to bone and light, This blue planet
in us orbits chaos, twines through black.
What’s solid isn’t solid, flickers though,
oh, something there, can’t show you what.
Is knowing what it does good enough,
which is the gist of all we see and do?
Oceans under everything, bonfires too
of an electric gleaming, long ridges
of unseen higher mountains, in the night,
sometimes words glow, hosts of meaning.
The waves are good, the shore is sweet,
the sand-wet thighs.
Fill the mind,
then empty the mind,
then fill it with emptiness,
The shining Now,
the roar of trees,
so much emptiness,
so much beauty.
So much detail,
and no meaning.
Earth, your starlight,
free of purpose.
All is energy,
Fill the mind,
empty the mind,
then fill it with emptiness,
This place, no nations
rock, stream, tree,
the fire of dawn sun.
On foot, dark rock,
silence is the crystal.
Moving forever on hills
hearing the pine-trees sing
the worlds shiver
stars in a hermit’s eye.
Matter is the place,
no names, no forms,
one continuous being.
Sit, watch boundaries dissolve.
Hear the white roar of energy.
World immortal, ever-changing,
endless being, with no purpose,
meditate, awake, and laugh.
Swift, responsive, beyond truth,
mindless being, without ceasing,
through the void hands must pass.
Earth ephemeral, Earth the flower,
mind ethereal, late this hour,
white the dawn-wind lights the grass.
Going past religions,
climb the mountain.
Spruce, larch, fir,
dark seas of pine,
that sigh, that roaring,
all the night-winds crying.
Going past history, past nations,
walking on the free trail,
black creek, white stone,
fall of icy water,
to the slopes of grass
and all seeds sighing.
Going past all our
recognise our freedom,
clear the mind.
Reject all this
denial of the spirit.
Past history, past nations,
One Universe, Shining Empty Meaning
Dream, dreamer, dream the transient world,
Nature does not serve human oppression,
All great gifts are born from empathy,
Love, compassion, beauty, emptiness.
Dream, dreamer, dream the transient world.
No one said we have to live like this.
Forget history, learn the new freedom,
truth, joy, kindness, emptiness.
Stop thinking here,
the field of grass.
Stone, stream, tree,
the far star, bold
the mind singing
through the air.
Let the Universe burn,
the great Wheel turn,
here infinity goes by,
stop thinking, watch
the dancers of the world.
In the moonlit waste darkness
I heard the stars sighing, I heard
the silence roaring, lion’s call of being,
Shining Now, all energy, all energy
is calm, that empty flow,
all tranquil Earth, ephemeral flower.
I felt far-off your moonlit blood moving,
so deep you became our greater self,
the mirror still, the star the source.
Oh, loose responsive empty night,
Oh, love’s cool breast.
This planet, free of nations, sidestep poisons,
watch the leaf tick, see its random movement,
and all we are could vanish if not for love.
Nature, non-human, but we were here before,
our species made this trail, watch the leaf tick,
small creek, shallow water, all gone but for love.
Children are forced to live in adult worlds,
but beyond the words, with charity, watch
the universe, its random movements, and we
all emptiness if not for love.
Whole minds trembling,
but in the end
to run for the stars,
the space-time road.
and no meaning,
but in the end
to go past wars and nations,
the sweet-love road.
East and West dying,
but in the end,
to see beauty flowering
the free-spirit road.
So quiet we can’t hear the fire,
so still we can’t see the burning,
your heart burning in my heart,
your mind, my mind, on fire.
Delicate this intensity,
great power of systems wheeling.
This nest of time, below the stars,
this wild wilderness of being.
So gentle we can’t hear the flames,
so calm we can’t feel the whirling,
just a flash, a glint of wings,
night-bird floating in the air.
The Free Trail
Lovely here on the free trail.
Where is the unseen,
A flicker of meaning
in the heart.
We can’t go back,
who’ve been here before.
Not in the wild or civilised,
primitive or sophisticated,
human beings always so,
but a freedom
in the spirit.
We missed the way all along,
eyes on the dirt or in the sky.
In the silence, past the systems,
beyond the history, religions,
kindness, freedom, that’s the way,
lovely here on the free trail.
Make the Soul
Way out, the glittering depths,
cold blue silver, high systems,
the vast wheel trembles,
for us the only
black against the stars
Inside, the glittering depths,
swimming down through us,
all perception of this Earth,
all our intense projections.
Sirius rising, half a moon,
Mars a glow of heart’s burning.
To tell truth, the entire
truth, that is hard,
but let the fields grow,
the minds flower,
without cant and ritual,
free and peaceful,
make the soul.
A Chinese brightness, silk, spontaneous life,
tiny figures climb by rivers and hills.
Going with the shift of centuries, tick
of all the elements, this space-time fabric.
Benevolent, Confucius said, sincere, meaning
kind, courteous, reticent in relationship,
the generous heart, jen, the thing we give
the universe, our lone creation, this thing, love.
Moon on the hills, breeze flows like water,
twice as cool on lips and eyes, grass,
being at one with the world, which exists,
though all transient, un-meaning emptiness.
Age of the Child
What is there,
on the horizon,
is the age
of reticent meaning,
the age of the simplest
What is there,
in the darkness,
the past being
all one moment,
possessing the one depth,
the single future,
simplicity of being.
What is there,
in the mind’s eye,
is an age
of joy and beauty
reachable if we will it,
beyond selfish power and gain,
an age of the child
What makes the poem strange thread of life caught there
the trickle of some mind-beat heart-beat image of person
pure gazing regard of the careless eye some pain some
tremor of delight breath of night air some up-turned face,
but a part of the flow connecting the child to now on that
same strange thread of tenuous transient existence an angle
on being some flashing crystal-crazed refraction of a life.
Night-road, night-ride, night-hours,
youth’s spent thoughts, silent towns,
one empty universe,
one pain of non-meaning.
Nights of power, of gain, of force,
of lies, barren aims, the world
of ignorance, religion, of the poor,
the pain of non-meaning.
Then trees and hills, the texts not-texts,
communion with minds, free floating
eye then inner stillness, beyond heart’s
rage, joy of non-meaning.
This Old World, worn surface of living,
many-times stirred and layered landscape,
abolishing forever the primitive wrinkled
aged ever-new human skin on Nature’s bone,
this tangled forest tamed by the machines,
this civilised beauty, through you we pass,
one day return, though never wild again
as wild was, lawless harshness never paradise.
This Old World, less nostalgic than the New,
these pavements built on a thousand pavements,
this work of hands, patina of human minds,
leaving behind the peasant in the dust, the tribe,
the furrowed brow of ignorance, superstition,
oh there is better than this any mind can see,
but through you we must pass not to the dark
ages of false engagement with forever-altered
Earth, no way back, there’s no way back, this
weathered, sweet Old World, gone on, beyond.
Burning onwards into stillness through sex
death beauty entering time, through form,
through being bound each to the other,
through voice eye and all dark perception
Burning onwards through night trail winds
storms cries entering life through trust
through empathetic transformation
hand and mind and all sweet perfections
Burning onwards, into light.
It’s about saying less
least about others,
It’s about urge
of tongue to sing
It’s about beauty
in the breath,
of hearing, private
It’s about one
to whom the voice
even if not heard
If you see Zen,
laugh, at the master.
If he strikes you,
to blunt the message
The simple tasks,
the honest paths,
the empty universe.
There is no Way.
Here it is, no rites
our natural being,
Crude dark worlds in which the crushed spirit dies,
the hope, the joy, the love, the heart, ah, disappointed.
That emptiness, that ache, that mortal stillness,
that bitter silence of the lonely hours.
Vicious worlds, in which the tender-minded suffer,
yet still love, no tragedy sufficient to express
the long inwardness of pain, the days of being lost,
the deep marks of abuse, the being used, the inward
In the garden of midnight
the flowers are silent,
all the senses.
The colour of the moon’s
the colour of water,
the sky ascends the house
and once again
is part of all the process
the vast serenity
of bright exploding suns
the voiceless whorls
galaxies and veils
the mute fabric of space-time.
Silent here too,
among the arbours,
walls and fountains,
the cisterns, the soft
pulse of silver channelled
waters, silent, beautiful,
humane, and sublime.
After the last gold sunset,
the last moon,
the last rose,
and the last music,
the last page read
in the last book,
the last voice,
and the last hour,
the last light
in the last glass,
the last cloud,
the last rain,
the last flicker
of silent time,
the last dark tremor
of the heart,
the last dream
will be of you.
The sierras, the cordilleras,
far-west of continents,
the odysseys of trails,
the folds of hills,
intimate as bodies
where mind goes
And the forests
desert silver, oceans,
as cobwebs, there too
we vanish dreaming.
We the clouds,
Alhambras of air
vapour-fields and valleys
February blue, frost-mist off the ground,
walking through white grass, leafless trees,
walking far from thought, carrying it along,
defeating mental darkness with the senses,
no words, no waste here, all things scattered.
I walk on aeons, a light-year’s space and time,
a mind-year is neither, radiance in the air,
where tiny insects ride the spring, not-spring,
this February’s gold sunsets, cloudless nights,
a waxing moon, ground-frost, the glow of Mars.
We are not symbols.
we are not texts,
we have no names.
We are not searchers
we are creators of identity.
We are not here
for some other purpose,
we are our purpose.
There is no enigma,
no dark mirror,
the Universe is what we see.
Slip-slide on the edge of
time space being,
well then, grasp
Darkness, we all go there,
but to find
subtle as frost-fall.
World not only
in the mind
but outside it,
the mind’s weakness
touch and be certain,
Where mind has been,
but not to linger there.
as a skein of names,
true, but reality
The Void is real
it’s all around,
the emptiness is full.
Where mind has been
but not to sink there.
as a swirl of mirrors
true, but being
the fire is real,
the dark is star-filled,
the night burns through.
Earth we are,
bodies that touch,
bone makes ash
the delicate flesh
the shell of other.
Air we are, oh, breath,
the word’s breeze,
a cry, pure
in the night,
Water we are, dark
fluids, clear fluids,
tears of arrival,
Fire we are that
burns through this world,
the greater yearning,
spirit electric, flame
in the universe, fire,
To Think a Thought
To write a book for the sake of a line,
the inside life, the outside life,
beauty of waves breaks in the bay
against the cliffs of ochred stone,
all one rising, falling moment,
to live a life for the sake of a life,
to be here, in time, and out of time,
clinging to the Idea that seems
through inwardness, eternal, and
a truth. To think a thought for
the sake of being.
The dead-ends known, the beauty there, form,
power, achievement, but cul-de-sacs of Mind.
Knowing nothing, forgetting all, living the moment,
free of association, something Nature delivers,
alone, the great freedom, to let our times alone,
let our age slide, one more flicker of a distant star.
No more Europe, America, Asia, no more thought
leading on over the edge, but a quiet slipping-by.
Art freezes mind and leaves it behind,
and in the Moment, endlessly here,
and still the word, potential repetition.
Every single reading is translation.
The one river of time the tongue enshrines,
hard to free itself from the watery illusion,
and know how the moment alone will exist,
ready to propagate this once-created form.
For the word is Idealist.
Making it factual, making it live,
why since self’s an unimportant trail
of time and being, and then wall, fence,
February crazy-heat of warming world,
to cool blue-grey and evening silhouettes
of tangled branches, coned fir, black shrub,
high evergreens, how can all this matter?
Fire within turns crystal in expression,
like seams of quartz in stone, the endless
mindless glitter, frozen fire, all things
Hitching in hot summer, the quiet lanes
through empty England forty years ago.
The same mind now, still alien, still out
in strange territory, the mysteries of all
the signs and names, inherited pointing.
History the same, a mystery how we got
here, hitching our way down silent roads,
and no way back, villages without names,
forgotten fields, the many-times ploughed
black earth, the stillness, all those centuries.
Gazing at other lives, we like that,
other lives symbolic, ours are fluid.
Through memories only we see ourselves,
through mirrors, others, all those deceptions.
That circumstantial world words conjure,
is a reality of sounds not things, not
the people, the events, the places –
does language communicate or create us?
Greater than us, lesser, those other lives.
The ache at the heart
is also the light
at the core
Enough then of this
such solid rock,
ground of being.
Only the dream
the entering the bright
We’d wish to make out of it, a hook
for eternity, out of mind now, like this
delicate dance of thought and feeling
between us, puzzling how to recapture
the first vanished eternal lost moments.
We’d wish to imagine beyond the given,
yet need it real, like a plunge back in time,
to recreate what somehow lacks dimension,
in a new old greater free dimension. We wish
our dream to remain dream, yet be, solid.
The centuries of the dancers and the singers
in the heart of life, not performers but deeper,
stamping, crying the rhythm of the earth,
clouds, skies, trees, stones, lost articulators
of lost identity, and vanished feeling, oh,
gazing at stars is other. Our future bright
beyond the galaxies, weighty with memories,
is the future not of body but of mind, and
a song, far-off, of the eye on cool horizons.
Stones, squares, palaces, built by the powerful,
who sought to prove power non-ephemeral,
(They vanished in a gesture!) silver dawn-light,
weathered beauty, weight, but not enough trees.
People here though, ah, pigeons, cats, dogs, life,
(Who really needs monuments?), seats, fountains
are pleasant, cool corners here, well-worn walls,
humanised meaning. (Things that laugh at power.)
Free At Last
Measuring the lingering radiation
takes us back to the start, the wild spaces
between the vibrant colours, veils of stars,
between the galaxies, and tells our future.
Meanwhile a universe to play in,
there’s an absence of deities to fill,
blue planets to find, suns to harness,
empires to evade, and the beauties
of the moment to consider, in lovely solitude.
White silence of bleached stone,
down-river old boulders,
scattered outfall, water picks
between, flycatcher on a rock
dipping to the tremor, we sit
on shelves of slate and look at
granite, down through clear
to cool pebbles. Water, unmoving
moves, something like us,
cutting form slow as a heartbeat
where the nub of time exists,
permanent in the impermanence
of pure light, and patient stone.
The specious authority of words,
a superficial identity with Nature,
criticising civilisation, using its products,
a holier than thou righteousness,
an exaggerated view of the primitive,
eating the creatures, while praising the creatures,
cultivating the powerful ‘so as to get things done’,
fame’s spurious halo shone around a name,
the ruthless commandeering of the personal
and private, in intimate unnecessary exposure,
too much talking about self,
too much talking.
Creatures in all their half-voiced beauty,
their silence filled with words, cries
of perfect feeling, make us gaze,
back at ourselves, questioning.
Creatures, their intricate bonds
and true freedoms, their disinterest
in any kind of power, in duration,
their disdain for deities and statues,
their lack, always, of possession,
are all the well of light where we go
to cleanse and purify ourselves of being human.
Our individual fate that never satisfies us,
the disparity between the smiling name
and the deep inner lie, or the gulf between
the inner virtue and the cold hostile face,
the solid intractability of past and future,
and yet their strange wavering ghostliness,
the failure of words to convey to us even
the least touch of reality, the way we never
admit to the vast forces greater than all our
civilisation, that drive the core of our actions,
the way it always happens later than we think
but always earlier than we can control.
Our gifts of renewal. Our endless courage.
We have to write what we are.
I, a fragile electric perception
of all star-filled deeps far out
in a storm-cleansed dark
and this small planet.
With age the heaviness fails,
all these things seem lighter,
tiny coruscations of fire-fly
history. T’ang a civilisation,
gone silk and willow eyebrows.
Nothing lasts a million years
all gone, whoosh, over the edge
of the high stone cliff singing,
to know matter is not to be
spirit, mind like a river-run.
Admiring all those solid words, those rocks
set down, all those defining moments
of others’ crystalline lives, why then my own
so misted, frail, ephemeral to me, fleeting?
Not like solidity of tree and stone, more
like old spent light, forming galaxies
in the eye, the sharp lens, in the detector,
far-off in the deep field, all subtle clues,
to some elusive shadowy pre-existence.
Time, like boiling cloud, a vapour trail
that goes losing its past and present,
world seen, deeper than a passing cloud,
no time, ah, for all religious foolishness,
those politics. Is it the first intensity gets
lost, the clear fierce vision, or that its
deep grasp consolidates, and remains?
America, your vast emptinesses and horizons,
your terrible desires, dreams, innocence,
discomfort in responsibility,
your endless roads, your great river
of mighty freedoms, bitter prisons,
your fine beauty, insecure sweet women,
hard-edged men, and gentle poets,
your long sigh and grasp of revolution,
your turn of the wheel.
America, your tremor of all the colours,
glitter, gleam on the metals and waters
of modernity, your traditions,
your clasp of friendship, your hard-nosed
plunge into coruscating futures,
your power, like a child’s,
your gorgeous thrust of ceaseless experiment,
your slow gaze back at age-old Europe,
your own antiquity, of peoples, landscapes.
America, loved from afar, long line of ranges,
seabords, lakes, trails, dark-woods, deserts,
the shape of your landscapes, languages,
your grasp of the fluid continent below.
America of the creatures and the flowers,
source, be praised, of no vast religions.
America young and old, your honest self-doubt,
your marvellous assurance, opening outwards
like a galaxy, shimmering to my eyes.
Little swift creek, shallow water,
High white moon dark boulders,
wild light among green pines,
cool, cool, the silent grasses.
Raindrops’ rust on tin roof,
and damp wooden benches,
glittering off in the starlight,
truth there bright, frozen,
a brine, like ocean, or like
teardrops brimming, so,
again and again, to the well,
we go carrying our emotions,
which are patterns and not stones,
processes, true streams, not things,
forms, ah, of the midnight world,
dark renewals, bright buryings.
Walk out of Human life,
walk into the world,
all that space alive.
Walk into Nature
out of the Human world,
no more sad wars,
no more religion.
Walk into the singing
All the centuries of laughter, where caught?
The million more of wombs in wombs,
of the body delicate and loving.
The places of our fluids, vulva, seed,
the cold, heat, ages of deepest civilisation,
and what makes it so, creative virtue.
Values are precisely what we choose,
precisely, endorsing cruelty a lapse of will.
Time to learn the beautiful absolutism
of all those centuries of loving laughter.
How to cry with the power and silence
of the Universe, which is a cry
though we hear nothing,
how to escape the flesh with the
eternally young mind, or how to find
the self escaping us in memory,
are impossibilities made no easier
by the beauty of this changeless moon
and symbol of mutation,
or this garden where the stars merge
with the dark sounds of the fountain,
nor your presence who are indeed a Moon.
Another Kind of Faith
So I never understood the religion,
an unnecessary hypothesis too far,
contrary to the purer discipline of
Occam’s razor, then the clear absence
of all evidence, in intellect or feeling,
and then too the innate contradiction
between the universal and eternal
power proposed and contingent evil.
Some are born to serve, it may be,
others to question every command,
born rebels, only there was only
a glaring absence to rebel against.
Science and Nature were the spheres
I understood, without comprehending
their endless intricacies, dance of forms,
a faith, yes, but a different kind of faith,
rational, questioning, and evidential.
And values? Values come from our
deep history, the nurturing breast,
empathy and co-operation, all our
evolutionary past, focused yes once
by religion, but now free of frozen
rituals and their regrettable obedience.
Time to reclaim the realms of spirit,
from the dying religions of the past.
Energy, Moment and the Individual
Like opening the gate into the garden,
is opening the mind to the emptiness,
the void of the universe, lack of meaning,
the beauty there, pure, intention-less.
And that lack of authority, possession,
is a freedom from demands, freedom
into which the mind sinks with relief,
we are not owed, nor do we owe.
Mind is in the world, world in mind,
so realism, idealism are both true
and I will end I know where I began
in child’s wonder, and man’s dream,
a deep and subtle freedom of the spirit,
acknowledgement of an eternity
beyond allegiance, all open here to
Energy, Moment and the Individual.
Index Of First Lines
- Talk quietly,
- Long slopes of burned-out trees,
- Waking at night on the empty beach, watching
- The stars from such a distance,
- Don’t be trapped in all that vacancy,
- Hands in the earth,
- It gets barer, more naked, not simpler, deeper,
- Slowly summoning the Masters,
- Blue cloud and white
- Han Shan’s mountain in the mind.
- Plum buds, cherry buds,
- Seawater, dark, the interior greenness,
- Fill the mind,
- This place, no nations
- World immortal, ever-changing,
- Going past religions,
- Dream, dreamer, dream the transient world,
- Stop thinking here,
- In the moonlit waste darkness
- This planet, free of nations, sidestep poisons,
- Whole minds trembling,
- So quiet we can’t hear the fire,
- Lovely here on the free trail.
- Way out, the glittering depths,
- A Chinese brightness, silk, spontaneous life,
- What is there,
- What makes the poem strange thread of life caught there
- Night-road, night-ride, night-hours,
- This Old World, worn surface of living,
- Burning onwards into stillness through sex
- It’s about saying less
- If you see Zen,
- Crude dark worlds in which the crushed spirit dies,
- In the garden of midnight
- After the last gold sunset,
- The sierras, the cordilleras,
- February blue, frost-mist off the ground,
- We are not symbols.
- Slip-slide on the edge of
- Where mind has been,
- Earth we are,
- To write a book for the sake of a line,
- The dead-ends known, the beauty there, form,
- Art freezes mind and leaves it behind,
- Making it factual, making it live,
- Hitching in hot summer, the quiet lanes
- Gazing at other lives, we like that,
- The ache at the heart
- We’d wish to make out of it, a hook
- The centuries of the dancers and the singers
- Stones, squares, palaces, built by the powerful,
- Measuring the lingering radiation
- White silence of bleached stone,
- The specious authority of words,
- Creatures in all their half-voiced beauty,
- Our individual fate that never satisfies us,
- We have to write what we are.
- Admiring all those solid words, those rocks
- America, your vast emptinesses and horizons,
- Little swift creek, shallow water,
- Walk out of Human life,
- All the centuries of laughter, where caught?
- How to cry with the power and silence
- So I never understood the religion,
- Like opening the gate into the garden,