Remembering Po Chu-I

Today I lounge, carefree, in my soft chair,
abandoned to the earnest idleness of elders.

Days and nights swiftly chase each other,
we often lose track of dates and times.

Before the fire destroyed everything we owned,
I had certain concerns, now mostly forgotten.

Here we like to watch our frisky little dog
run and pounce on her animal toys —
we burst out laughing.

We don’t need much more than that . . .
well, a nice supper and a glass of wine.

Out on the patio, our Camellia blossoms
in the coolness with blood-red flowers.

In his leisure, old Po Chu-I scribbled poems,
small paper boats launched into eternity’s stream.

I’ve ceased struggling to recall names — people
come and go — but I still remember some.

 

PoChu-I

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The Seer

There is one who sees right through.
Such love is incomprehensible.

This one sees souls, whereas we
merely see the persona costume.

For purposes of the narrative,
we will call that one the Seer.

The Seer sees clearly.
It’s not about the imagination.

Nothing is created nor destroyed.
The Seer resides in its own silence.

To the Seer, it doesn’t matter
what we see or espouse or believe.

It doesn’t matter whether or not
we go to church on Sunday.

It doesn’t matter if we hope
and pray for the final resurrection.

Our conditional fantasies of interpretation
on perception don’t matter to the Seer.

Nor does it matter if we fly through the air
with the greatest of ease, bring home
bacon, or claim to be vegan.

It doesn’t matter if we have planned wisely
for our retirement, or consider the earth
upon which we walk sacred and perfect.

Throughout the multiverse, there exist
innumerable beings who subscribe
to a multitude of value systems.

The Seer makes no value judgment,
holds to no position, casts no vote.

Even if the planet which we hold precious
were to collapse in on itself during some
enormous cosmic cataclysm, the Seer
remains unshaken.

The Seer does not measure,
nor is such sight time-durational.

The Seer does not mull it over.
The Seer sees right through.

When it’s said that this one
sees souls, what is seen?

Only the intensity of light.

Something Knows

Nobody sleeps through the night anymore.
The oblivion pill business is booming.

We’re being turned over and over in our beds
like skewers over the white hot charcoal
of our collective distress, conflicted
desires, our nagging regret —
roasting in restlessness.

As it is, no one tortures us but ourselves,
our own mind supplies the skewers, the coals.
Gluttons for knowledge, we suffer an indigestion
of information, a surplus of self-inflicted stress.

Whatever we cling to defines us, limits us.
Only the empty transparent vessel can become
a perfect portal for angels to pass back and forth
between the visible and invisible realms,
bearing the sweetness of mercy.

Throughout the clouded night, loud sirens
race screaming down the boulevards
like acid through the arteries.

The piercing wail of dark sutras chanted
in the wind — it never seems to end.

Sprawled across a soft pillow before the fire,
the small dog lies dreaming, undisturbed
by the swirling human chaos.

Something within every creature knows
whatever was or will be is nothing
but pure imagination.

Destiny

Destiny then: the fate of a herd of sheep
grazing on the mountain side at daybreak.
The grass is moist with dew, sweet and green.

Their thoughts are moving at the speed of sheep —
arbitrary, transient, nonbinding. The animals are
tranquil today, none can imagine their death.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern quadrant, barely noticed,
a bright comet hangs suspended in the dawn sky.
The Messiah who was prophesied, the king
of kings — nobody can imagine his death.

The shepherd has fallen asleep. He is dreaming
of tall green grass swaying in the summer breezes.
His beloved is approaching at the speed of dreams,
tenderly cradling a small lamb in her phantom arms.

The destiny of dreams: dreaming always ends.
Characters in the dream can never imagine
the dream will end. It all seems so real.

Perhaps today will be the day the sheep are led
down the grassy slopes to the awaiting abattoir.

Sheep dogs will run along with them, barking,
as if in a dream scene, while the new savior
smiles in his crib, dreaming the same dream.

 

Silhouette of shepherd and sheep with a bright star in the sky

Temple of the Heart

I will go into the temple of the heart.
I will wander there without schemes of me
and mine, without any strategies, until I forget
everything else — purpose, identity, mind’s
poor contrivances, all prior experience,
memory associations, all definitions.

In the night sky of the heart
there will come shooting stars,
flaming arrows of love will soar
through the great cardiac expanse
with no target, simultaneously
piercing everyone — saints
and sinners equally.

We will all surrender. All of us.
In the heart, there are no other options.
No one can remain here with closed fists.
Our hands must be raised in the gesture
of humility — guileless, fully open.

No explanations will be required,
none offered. The perpetual revelation
will be wordless, unfolding naturally
in and out of time, and what is given
will be received without any bias
or judgment — as it is.

The thin membrane which seems
to separate us in the dreamtime from
our own Source will not long persist
in the temple of the heart.

A fire puja is always burning there,
burning up our ideas, beliefs, arrogance.
All of that is kindling in the heart cave puja.
Don’t enter here with will, ambition, hope or fear.
None of that can serve you, it doesn’t serve you now.

In our world there are wise, foolish, rich and poor,
but in the temple of the heart everyone’s head is
pressed to the floor before the altar of sacrifice,
where even the gods and goddesses who glide
through the celestial firmament in magic ships
made of gold, precious jewels, and wondrous
power must bow down in acknowledgement
of their essential divine ignorance.

All of our precious babies will rest in our arms
in a bliss of true peace, deep in the heart-mind
of the Eternal, at home in that shining temple,
and it will be as if they had never strayed,
and indeed we never have.

 

 

168088513.djxjrlik.1

At Last

Isn’t it so, they are merely images in your mind
to which you have granted some emotional value,
and yet should you in curiosity attempt to trace back
to the origin of that feeling itself, you find nothing,
like a small child peeking through the doors
of an ancient abandoned temple, fallen
into ruin now, where a weak dusty breeze
may briefly sift around the crumbling pillars,
only to be subsumed in an echoing silence?

Once the moon with its romantic shine
seemed to hint at some ineffable mystery.
You wanted to bathe in its celestial poetry,
be pierced by its luminous persuasion
to the cusp of serene lunar rapture,
seduced to nocturnal oblivion.

Now you walk the night, eyes gazing
neither up nor down, neither right or left,
fixed only on some invisible, undefinable
point straight ahead, receding perpetually
into the far distance, into the ravenous void.

Without intention or expectation, without hope
or fear, you are propelled by the lingering energy
of habit and fading vitality to move forward
in a diminishing orbit, like a circle
drawn around empty space.

But no, this is not some haunted requiem
for thwarted personal ambition, not a lament
for lost opportunity or unrequited desire,
nor a coming to terms with what was,
is, or will be — there are no terms.

You’re just walking through the night,
awake in the midst of a dream. This is not
some kind of acquired freedom. Originally
there was nothing bound, nothing to liberate,
nothing to set loose — all that is merely
more dreaming, a virtual adventure
in a holograghic light field.

You tire more easily now, and the late night’s
chill air hurries you back to your rooms,
where you can lie down in warm blankets
and drift off to an undisturbed sleep.

At last, all we really want is peace.

 

moonrise 1

Loka

1.

But what if you were to set aside for a moment
your pain, your anxiety, and all of your grey sadness,
as if they were foreign objects which you barely recognize,
like stringy bits of refuse tossed out onto the highway
by some careless driver who had a typical story
of unrequited love on his mind, for what love
is truly requited in this realm of streaming sorrows,
and as he drove he thought nothing of despoiling
a little more a world that had already been so ruined
by men who were cold and self-absorbed, who went
from one place to the next, with no real destination,
but only leaving bits of random garbage in their wake,
and now you are turning away from that world, as if
you existed on another plane altogether, a finer loka
where the land is pristine, the air bright with light,
the water sweet, and there is nothing here
to harm you, nothing to either crave or avoid,
and here you are loved, and you love in return,
with no motive but for the sake of love itself,
and you rest here, for a moment, an eternity,
timeless, at home, at peace.

2.

Yes, there is a mysterious perfection revealed in the way
things fall apart, or the way we come here for a moment,
but then hold on tenaciously, even if we happen to be
scarred with grievous wounds, unrelenting hardship,
the bitter taste of unfulfillment, futility, wrenching loss,
and even though the gorgeous camellia blossoms fall
from their stems and scatter across the ground to rot,
unappreciated by the creatures trampling over them
in their endless quest for survival amidst the beauty
and terror of one brief world, set adrift in an infinite
dark, a holographic marble gleaming in the void,
lit by a globe of thermonuclear fire, teeming
with violence, grandeur, and death: yes,
from the perfect comes the perfect,
and there is only the perfect,
without beginning or end.

3.

Inexplicable mercy leans gracefully down,
lifts fear and horror off their feet, holds them
closer than close in her warm sweet embrace,
kisses them softly again and again as a mother
would her wounded child, does not hold back,
cannot hold back, will never hold back in such
selfless love, for here is where the magic is born,
this is the place of the great transmutation, here
water wears the hard stone down, here closed hearts
open at last to receive, where the high angels point
with their delicate hands, to that immense mystery
which no human mind can begin to conceive,
where feeling runs on to infinity.

 

 

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