Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Once on the way to see god

It takes, sometimes, medicine, to know the world's hall
lifting sunwhiteyellow architectures in shadows of light,
reconstructuring amber cells of un-self, oinglebundoincy—
a funny puppet tongue bounding from an infant's laugh-roar
into the place where my hungry, poor bodies come to camp
and await meeting this or that or the goddish who.
Now sit patient in presence of sun, light, trees, bugs who
welcome staying, make this grassy path one such hall
where a poor, hungry body might sit until tired, camp
until arrived at dusk, sink flat until will-o-the-wisp light
lifts away into the infinite architecture's acoustic roar
to a song that first kissed my brow, oinglebundoincy,
oingboincy aardvarkaroo. Orange argle kangabull. Oinglebundoincy
some loving one sang to some me, sounding the letters who
crescendoed head-bump cuddles into some solid roar,
steadied into some mature sense—straight-walled as a hall;
who constructed the all-chitecture and steadied the light
when, once upon once, everything was spontaneous camp.
Now I circle barefoot around sun, light, trees, bugs where I camp,
I myselfslide conversing argyle sweet-the-sound oingleboincy
with the green air, interviewing wavelengths of green light
to uncover the self of green, its rainbow, its essential who.
Speak, tree, on behalf of green. Say, path and sapling hall
about the light that lifts from soil to upward roar;
how it transmorphs to the red ruddy bloody roar
of cellular body dust aardvarkaroo cloud in which I camp!
The nostril of Tao is some ancient pyramid's funerary hall.
I finger-walk inside humming oinglebundoincy
through its darkness and filaments, into the nostril who
beams its finger-intersected face—the tendererst light!
And in the ear, and the shapes of hands, the blood light,
the maroon architecture, brown movement, black roar
of proof we come apart from a loose argle-bargle of who.
The darkling cuddles the light, trees, bugs, camp,
swaddling all the secret funny whisper oinglebundoincy.
Now I walk in boots back from the all-storied hall.

The goddish emissary lights my infant heart similar to camp
memories. Memory’s roar now hums a bouncy, cool oingleboincy.
I forget its meaning, but I know in my amber who fills the hall.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Reprieve: Song to Sestina

Happily going along, I find this,
unbeknownst to me, the sestina form
A new puzzle for the resting of mind
Chartered territory long ago laid
By Daniel historic and Daniel now.
May I have this dance? I say to myself
With nothing to do, I rest in myself,
the structure wafting me along in this
Arriving, pausing, backing up, and now
discovering, climbing into this form
that innocence, that's always been, is laid
bare, nothing to do but enjoy free mind
What comes is what comes, penetrating mind
with that which effortlessly is myself
Form and formless interweave, nature laid
before itself as the seed carries this
code, its modifying of subtle form
reminiscent somehow only of now
That which springs forth is the What Is of now
Here again, nothing to do, freeing mind
offering no thing to the empty form
giving everything to empty myself
Reminds me of walking one step, just this
then the next, each open, empty, each laid
As itself, but not distinct, again laid
as itself, but not apart from each now.
To speak of the whole seems trivial in this
kind of insight, as cliches work the mind
dry and so tired. To refresh myself
again, I climb up this jungle gym form
Surrendering without collapsing form
The formless emanates like gold leaf laid
in the thinnest of sheets over myself,
bathing me free of I, me, mine. And now
this reprieve sings the song empty of mind
to the chorus of Sestina. Just this.
An Empty, Empty form is Happy, Happy now.
Only need is to have laid out the table; mind
finds its own nourishment. I find myself in This.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Imunuri Prompt: Roaring Silence


Write a poem from the roaring silence.

Tags: loud-silence, epic-earth, poet's moniker, poem



From Annie Dillard (1982), Teaching a stone to talk: Expeditions and encounters...

About silence:
"it is difficult to undo our own damage, and to recall to our presence that which we have asked to leave. It is hard to desecrate the grove and change your mind. The very holy mountains are keeping mum. We doused the burning bush and cannot rekindle it; we are lighting matches in vain under every green tree. Did the wind used to cry, and the hills shout forth praise? Now speech has perished from among the lifeless things of earth, and living things say very little to very few. Birds may crank out sweet gibberish and monkeys howl; horses neigh and pigs say, as you recall, oink oink. But so do cobbles rumble when a wave recedes, and thunder breaks the air in lightning storms. I call these noises silence. It could be that wherever this is motion there is noise, as when a whale breaches and smacks the water—and wherever there is stillness there is the still small voice, God's speaking from the whirlwind, nature's old song and dance, the show we drove from town. At any rate, now it is all we can do, among our best efforts, to try to teach a given human language, English, to chimpanzees…" (p. 88)

"The mountains are great stone bells; they clang together like nuns. Who shushed the stars? There are a thousand million galaxies easily seen in the Palomar reflector; collisions between and among them do, of course, occur. But these collisions are very long and silent slides. Billions of stars sift among each other untouched, too distant even to be moved, headless as always, hushed. The sea pronounces something, over and over, in a hoarse whisper; I cannot quite make it out. But God knows I have tried." (p. 89)

"At a certain point you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, to the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening. After a time you hear it: there is nothing there. There is nothing but those things only, those created objects, discrete, growing or holding, or swaying, being rained on or raining, held, flooding or ebbing, standing, or spread. You feel the world's word as a tension, a hum, a single chorused note everywhere the same. This is it: this hum is the silence. Nature does utter a peep—just this one. The birds and insects, the meadows and swamps and rivers and stones and mountains and clouds: they all do it; they all don't do it. There is a vibrancy to this silence, a suppression, as if someone were gagging the world. But you wait, you give your life's length to its listening, and nothing happens. The ice rolls up, the ice rolls back, and still that single note obtains. The tension, or lack of it, is intolerable. The silence is not actually suppression; instead, it is all there is." (pp. 89-90)


for a friend, after getting the email from genetic testing from relatives never known

Who is today's dweller of that cave house?
Destiny has brought us together
        from all corners of the world. 

From Crossing Hangu Pass, by Zhan Shichuang, translated by Charles Q. Wu

in one generation, it can be a family riven
later, a minefield, avoided
in a later generation, it can be a missing tooth
finally the time ripens to reach out
and fill the heartmountain with oldearth


sometimes, we don't know we had holes
til whole again, uprighter, spacious
we begin to dance


the body starts to move in ways unknown
pivoting then leaping from origins
finally known, sturdy earth everywhere underneath us
now: contact, knowing, sensing


we can only leap from contact

    oldearth   provender


Monday, December 23, 2013

Snail signs infinity

drawing by J Shon

                                                            Snail signs infinity

trail across low-tide sand
encircles itself once
loops again
snail signs infinity!
shell swirls
echo design bands
leave infinite behind
head north.

Thursday, December 19, 2013



fire lit
to sit

smoke drifts
thoughts away
from mind,
leaves you behind

burning wood
warmth makes,
you inside

orange flame
air lifts
to find you

painting brushless.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

IMUNURI Prompt: Mountain Songs

Hanyu Pass (from Every China)
Who is today's dweller of that cave house?
Destiny has brought us together
        from all corners of the world.  

From Crossing Hangu Pass, by Zhan Shichuang, translated by Charles Q. Wu

Poets of place, lovers of earth lore, take out your pens (or tablets), croon to the hills!
These images of Hanyu pass visualize the mountain site where Laozi wrote the Dao de Ching.

Check out this site that features planet-wide MOUNTAIN SONGS.
What is your local place, hill, or peak whispering through you?

 Find the clickable Googlemap here: www.mountainsongs.net
of click one of these: http://www.mountainsongs.net/translator_.php?id=21

Riffzone: take it low, write from the mountain's base ... or write a poem of climbing... or take it high to the peaks. Write a poem of restoring earth...
What functions do mountains have in the earthsystem, and/or the worlds' creative capacity, epic poets of earth?

Riff 2: Start a poem with a line you find on Mountain Songs site (and credit it, those ancestral poets love to be praised)

Riff 3: Sparking from this entry on Mountain Songs, "All Nature's Splendors Captured in This Gourd-Heaven"

What would we see if we hopped into your Gourd Heaven? Give us a tour in your mountain-song...

Tags: mountain-song, poem, <poet's moniker>, epic-earth

Epic-Earth: An ongoing series of earth-related prompts as part of an Imunuri experiment to dwell repeatedly on a theme and its riffs, and/or the possible poetry challenge, bit by bit, of producing an epic or body of poems...
Notes from Mountain Songs: (By Professor Charles Q. Wu)
This inscription alludes to an ancient Daoist legend, "The Gourd Master", recorded first in the History of the Later Han. Here's a version from The Biographies of Spirit Immortals, by the Doaist scholar-practitioner Ge Hong (283-363).

"The Gourd Master was a Daoist healer. He came from afar to sell medicine at the market. After he had sold all the herbal pills in his gourd, he would come home and hang the empty gourd over his seat. After sunset he would turn around and jump into the gourd to no one knows where.

Changfeng, the market officer, was the only one who saw this from upstairs and realized that the Master was no ordinary person. He swept the floor in front of the Master's seat on a regular basis and even brought him food. But curious as he was about the Master's strange disappearances, he never dared ask any question.

One day the Master said to him, 'Come again at dusk when no one is around.' Changfeng did as he was told. The Master said, 'When you see me jump into the gourd, just follow me and you will be there.' Changfeng followed the Master's instruction and tried. As soon as he put out one foot, he was already in there before he knew it. Once inside, what he saw was no longer the gourd, but buildings and scenic objects of all shapes and colors, gates leading to more gates, and walkways leading from on pavilion to another. With the Master were dozens of retainers.

I'm an immortal,' said the Master. 'I disgraced my celestial position because my subordinates did not serve with diligence. On that account I was banished from above and returned temporarily to the mundane world. You are teachable. That's why you were allowed to see me (as I once was).'

From this story comes the phrase "Gourd Heaven", and apt symbol for a classical Chinese garden, which may be limied in space but contains a microcosm of all nature's wonders.

Quoted from Listen To The Fragrance, Literary Inscriptions in Lan Su Yuan, The Portland Classical Chinese Garden by Charles Wu, published by the Portland Classical Chinese Garden www.portlandchinesegarden.org