across an unknown sea

The Solitary

As one who has sailed across an unknown sea,
among this rooted folk I am alone;
the full days on their table are their own,
to me the distant is reality.

A new world reaches to my very eyes,
a place perhaps unpeopled as the moon;
their slightest feelings they must analyze,
and all their words have for the common tune.

The things I brought with me from far away,
compared with theirs, look strangely not the same:
in their great country they were living things,
but here they hold their breath, as if for shame.

Rilke

air

Eagle Poem

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you.
And know there is more
That you can’t see, can’t hear,
Can’t know except in moments
Steadily growing, and in languages
That aren’t always sound but other
Circles in motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River.  Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty. 

Joy Harjo

from How we become human – New and selected poems: 1975-2001

 May we take the utmost care of our practice!

Happy New Year and thank you for your support!

Genju

fire

I took a walk yesterday into areas of my landscape that have lain fallow to my attention.  We forget, I think, how environment shapes our senses.  How it narrows or broadens our vision.  How it points to what is truly there and what is constructed from our desire.

In a lovely bookstore in Santa Fe, I came across the poems of Joy Harjo which illuminate this sense of connecting with the earth, sun and sky.  I hope you like them.

~~~

Fire

a woman can’t survive
by her own breath
    alone
she must know
the voices of mountains
she must recognize
the foreverness of blue sky
she must flow
with the elusive
bodies
of night winds
who will take her
into herself

look at me
i am not a separate woman
i am the continuance
of blue sky
i am the throat
of the mountains
a night wind
who burns
with every breath
she takes

from How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems: 1975-2001

riding derails

I took a train ride yesterday, waiting on the platform
at the station
for the regular run from here,

handing my ticket to the man
in his station master habit,
who took it,
looked at me with eyes that said, “Are you sure?”

Are you sure you want to ride this train?
This particular coach which is going to Vachronwicha

And which could continue onto Vachronwicmi
if you bought the extension fare
at the cost of 30 yersowuks?

Are you sure?

Are you sure that going through Vachronwicha
is really going to change the stale date
stamped into the material of your packaging?
The ink is ragged and faded from being taken in and
out of
your heart freezer
and you’re probably hoping what while it says “Best Before”

It really means “Better After.”

Are you sure?

Perhaps as Station Master I should warn you
that the tracks from here to
Vachronwicha
wind around Oldebrayne which you already
know has a way of making you dizzy and unable
to discern clearly or make a decision
to stay on the rocking train or step off onto the
upcoming platform –

where you should sometimes stop
if only to check out
the incredible view
of Althais.

Of course, if you are
True to Form
you will likely continue on to
Vachronwicmi

where you like to sip on the
teas grown at that altitude
of misty memories and wishful
thinking,
and slip into the baths of
O’owdidishapin,

followed by dinner at Ymi.

Are you sure?

The train whistle blew – twice,
three times,
and the man in the old habit of
station masters
cried out,

“Alllll…aboard?”

And I waved.

Genju

choose a suffering

Yesterday in the assembly I saw my
soul inside the jar of the one who

pours.  “Don’t forget your job,” I
said.  He came with his lighted

face, kissed the full glass, and as
he handed it to me, it became a

red-gold oven taking me in, a ruby
mine, a greening garden.  Everyone

chooses a suffering that will change
him or her to a well-baked loaf.

Abu Lahab, biting his hand, chose
doubt.  Abu Huraya, his love for

cats!  One searches a confused mind
for evidence.  The other has a

leather sack full of what he needs.
If we could be silent now, the

master would tell us some stories
they hear in the high council.

from The Soul of Rumi: a new collection of ecstatic poems translation by Coleman Barks

Thank you for practicing,

Genju