Sunday, October 31, 2010

little red sumac

i rode by this little sumac plant and it called out "hey!"
so i hammered on my bicycle's brakes and turned back
and it said "what?
am i not good enough for a picture?
well, what about this:"

"or this!"

"or this!"

"oh my sweet" i replied, "i imagine the great grandchildren of the monarch butterflies who rested on your crimson fingers just weeks ago are talking about you in their little mexican valley.

the deer eating the sweet white oak acorns across that field are thinking back to the last time they passed you under a similarly blue and cloudless sky.

the painted turtle who crossed from the marsh just behind you to the little pond on the other side of this path is singing a little song to himself
about the girl turtle he left behind.
the one who lived just back of the crimson sumac."

"yes my treasure, you're famous without even trying."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

the shimmering air

little flakes
of gold leaf
fall from the trees

through the air
in the deep blue
slow moving water

and wend their way
down river

to the sea

where they
wash up
on a waterworn
pebbled shore
to be slowly worked
into the softest golden dust
and carried aloft
on a shimmering zephyr

Friday, October 29, 2010

a chance encounter

rocks in a tree's arms -

the story
as near as i can tell
is that
the tree
fractured near its base
in a long past storm
and gathered something
of the earth
into its fold
as part of it fell

it's in my heart to say that they were brought together
it's in my head to wonder
as i imagine the stories they are sharing


i am reminded of the zen learning
in "not the wind, not the flag"


two monks were arguing about a flag. one said: "the flag is moving."

the other said: "the wind is moving."

the sixth patriarch happened to be passing by. he told them:
"not the wind, not the flag; mind is moving."

Thursday, October 28, 2010


what could i learn
from the redness of this red -
that beauty can be so simple
and so profound

what could i learn
from the multiplicity of these leaves -
that true generosity
is the simplest grace

what could i learn
from the simplicity of this plant's presence -
that real knowledge
comes through understanding my place
in the all of everything

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the woman tree

see how
her body
births the roots
whose woven
and splintered threads
will bring her sustenance
and hold her
to the ground
when the winds, the slanting rains,
and the weight of snow
threaten to close
the cycle of her existence

how she is so much
like you and i

this one's
for dan who loves the trees
and knows how filled with wisdom they really are

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the evening sun

the evening sun

the roof above the tops of the summer weeds becomes
entirely hidden.
though until just now children were sticking their faces
from the doorway
they have all become invisible.
at my back
the town gradually becomes smaller.
everything everywhere is no more than the play of lights
and shadows.

nobuo ayukawa

Monday, October 25, 2010

return to forever

when i return to forever
may the circle be closed
and the spiral be broader

words excerpted from "forever oneness" by bee lake

Sunday, October 24, 2010

older and away

on a path
with pine needles
and dancing leaves

in the shade of a tree
whose leaves are falling

i feel an echo
in the hazy
internal landscape
of my thoughts
as my children
grow older
and away

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the little red leaf

i try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

words excerpted from "fall song" by mary oliver

Friday, October 22, 2010

the first light

trying to be thoughtful in the first light of dawn

i am thinking, or trying to think, about all the
imponderables for which we have
no answers, yet endless interest all the
range of our lives, and it's

good for the head no doubt to undertake such
meditation; mystery, after all,
is God's other name, and deserves our

consideration surely. but, but -
excuse me now, please; it's morning, heavenly bright,
and my irrepressible heart begs me to hurry on
into the next exquisite moment.

mary oliver

Thursday, October 21, 2010

so simple

in the autumn
it's the really small
the little things
the moments
that complete the sentence
with an exclamation mark

so simple, these images,
their recognition
is in our nature,
yet too often neglected,
our eyes already elsewhere.

it is beyond the gods
why we hold onto our sorrows
so long, and so stubborn.

excerpted from "these images" by wang ping

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

don't fade away

i walked 'round my garden this morning to see the various stages of letting go that my plants are experiencing.

the hostas are spectacular in their decay -
each leaf surrounded by a golden halo in the vivid bright light of this october morning.

the words of brendan perry entered my mind as i photographed this beautiful plant:

"don't fade away my brown-eyed girl,
come walk with me, i'll fill your heart with joy,
and we'll dance through our isolation
seeking solace in the wisdom we bestow,
turning thoughts to the here and ever after,
consuming fears in our fiery halos."

oh my girl
i know you're still in there
somewhere well beyond
your pale yellow leaves
your dried stalks

like the skin
on the back of my hand
gently wrinkled
and veined
so many acts of kindness
and goodness
contained and waiting
in their frail mortality

you can hear brendan's words sung here:

you can read the words of brendan perry "don't fade away"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


on a day
of falling leaves
and soaring inner spirit
a golden thread
of sunlight
holds the multi-hued tapestry of it
all together

following this golden thread
across the landscape of the day
i come across
the wonder of green
in a clearing
somehow a sward of grass
has been overlooked

almost as if it is beginning
rather than ending
and standing on the improbable
emerald ribbon
bathed in the warmth
of the mid-autumn sun
i am so glad
to be here
because very soon

very soon

it will be hidden


this is now. now is,
all there is. don't wait for then;
strike the spark, light the fire.

sit at the beloved's table,
feast with gusto, drink your fill

then dance
the way branches
of jasmine and cypress
dance in a spring wind.

the green earth
is your cloth;
tailor your robe
with dignity and grace.


Monday, October 18, 2010

the hermitage

i have come, before i know it, upon an ancient hermitage,
the thatch door, the piney path, the solitude, the quiet,
where a hermit lives and moves, never needing a companion

words by meng haoran

Sunday, October 17, 2010

a moment's breath

in the sudden brightness
of a bowl of sunlight

the very faintly glowing
red of a fallen sumac branch

no wind
and no sound
reach this still and silent place

Saturday, October 16, 2010

burning leaves

the orange-brown scent
of burning leaves

a sweet and gentle smell
filled with spring frosts
and birdsong
the thrumming of sap
rising to the heat
of a summer day
the red and gold
of early autumn
now curling
into pure white ash
and slowly rising
on a slender thermal
that wraps itself around
the mother tree
on its journey
to the sky

Friday, October 15, 2010

equal to nothingness

i do not know
what a human being must do.
i do not know
what a human being should try to get.
i think
that a human being can become part of nature.
i am feeling
that a human being is great because he is equal to
oh i am shaken,
how hopeful to be equal to nothingness!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the drifting innocence

shadow on the earth

flowing waves

of the drifting innocence

words excerpted from "wanting to be walking among crowds" by sakutaro hagiwara

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

close to the earth

on a deep bed
of soft brown pine needles

the soft fingers of
a warm breeze
touch my face
with the cinnamon tang
of the autumn woods

close to the earth
the great cycles
are simply expressed

contained in small
ripe spaces

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

a clearing

i sat for some time
by the remains of this ancient tree

a year has passed
since i last listened to his stories

there's no doubt i am older

for more of his stories
make sense to me now

Monday, October 11, 2010


in the trees
the soft warm music of the wind

on the forest floor
a stillness

and a slow returning

Sunday, October 10, 2010

was there ever

everything in silence
the deepest place

like pages of a book
in the warm wind

a place of hushed golden stars
like faces
like hands

Saturday, October 9, 2010

the morning dream of life

so bright and soft is the sweet air of morning,
it brings them all to being when it touches
with its paleness every glowing vein;
the wild and flaming hollows of the forest
kindle all their crimson in its rain;

and every curve receives its share of morning,
every little shadow softly grows,
and motion finds a melody more tender
and quiet in its giving, as though love,
the morning dream of life, were born of longing,
and really poured its being from above.

all words by max eastman excerpted from "autumn light"

Friday, October 8, 2010

evening in my eyes

the billows which cradled the image of the sky

mingled, in a solemn, mystical way

the omnipotent chords of their rich harmonies

with the sunsets' colours reflected in my eyes

Thursday, October 7, 2010

all that's there

the sky's song is sometimes thin

and at the end of a day

mumbled words
are all it can share
or all i can hear

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

closing the space

surefooted and kind
her words
curled like smoke
around my heart

her mouth
opened abysses
of sensation
that were as bottomless
as they were boundless

cravings being what they are
her mouth became more
to me
her words

you see her words
offered little comfort

little solace

no reassurance
that even when my heart's eyes
i could still see

they were lacking that inner sense
that it would be alright
to feel her in my hands
and nowhere else

and so i came to hope
for that great space
uncluttered by expectation

and i was prepared
to pay almost any price
to feel the walls
come tumbling down

and sense the press of her mouth
against mine

if she’d been a book
would’ve been
like reading the last page first

and so it all
even as it began

with a glance
across a room

a wish to close the space
by opening another
a leaving
as brave
and unlikely
as the arrival.

painting by tom trythall rowe "overtures"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

sail to me

i remember buying this disc so many years ago that really it leaves me wondering "what one earth",
but time flies when . . . . anyhow i heard it in my head yesterday and thought i'd have a look see on youtube and sure enough there it was.
what really caught my attention though is the number of hits it has -
over a million and a half.

now i know that "this mortal coil" were sort of well-known and this particular song did very well, but not that much . . . and then i noticed a reference in a comment to "the lovely bones" and thought "ah ha!"
it was rediscovered and dropped on a soundtrack. i've not seen the film.
the book is on one of my many little lists to be read at some point.

for now though i am having memories of a time a very long time ago in my life when i lived in a one bedroom apartment in toronto and this was a song that made its way frequently onto the turntable.

the words to song to the siren:

on the floating, shapeless oceans
i did all my best to smile
'til your singing eyes and fingers
drew me loving into your eyes.

and you sang "sail to me, sail to me;
let me enfold you."

here i am, here i am waiting to hold you.
did i dream you dreamed about me?
were you here when i was full sail?

now my foolish boat is leaning, broken love lost on your rocks.
for you sang, "touch me not, touch me not, come back tomorrow."
oh my heart, oh my heart shies from the sorrow.
i'm as puzzled as a newborn child.
i'm as riddled as the tide.
should i stand amid the breakers?
or shall i lie with death my bride?

hear me sing: "swim to me, swim to me, let me enfold you."
"here i am. here i am, waiting to hold you."

Monday, October 4, 2010

first frost

the gauzy edge
of her breath

whispers remorse

even as the touch of her lips
their emerald hands
into tumbling prayer flags