a death in a zen garden

she found him next to Buddha and his two attendants
arms and legs outstretched like a beached starfish

the gravel had been freshly raked to outline his body
an unlikely death scene in a serene zen garden

some say his master had orchestrated his funeral
others that the truth was known only to the willows

but next day his body was gone and the gravel raked
in patterns resembling waves and rippling water

only the words of his poetry and songs were echoed
the meaning of it all concentrated in the ensuing silence

she that had meant everything and nothing to him
taking her own last breath and reaching for his hand

isn’t this the way death dreams our eternal slumber?
on the point of everlasting meditation, of no return?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Meditation

Layered hills one beyond another beyond
The rising sun from smokey green to
Pellucid pink wands of paper folded clouds
Hung above a waterfall, framed by pine
“Where nothing in the cry of cicadas
Suggests they are about to die”.

I hear the chime of the meditation bell,
The sweep of rush brushes on gravel lawns
And sliding, the screen wall opens, reveals
Mountains too high to climb in one lifetime;
Ink splashed, an empty space silenced,
Unanswerable, mysterious, islands, islands.

She clips the wings of the bonsai tree,
Feeds red crowned cranes from her palm,
Gifts cherry blossom kisses to the wind.
Gone in a week, flown away to the north
On a gold foil sunset, venerated, veiled;
We link our arms around the cedar tree

But the wave engulfs us, octopi fingerlings
Fan out with great speed in straight lines,
Bullet fast in perfection, twisting the aesthetic,
The seas, skies and conscious far horizons,
Entering the shrine, contemplating nature,
We are animated and energised by the land.

She takes hold of my hand, flickering
Spirits reshape on a forest path winding
Upwards, summiting the vast view of blue
Bewildered hills, layered one beyond
Another beyond her eyelids and fingertips,
Blinking into a future migrating heartbeat.

Landscape-Sesshu2

(Quote by Matsuo Bashō, 1644 – 1694 Japan.
‘Haboku-Sansui’ ink on paper by Sesshū Tōyō,
1495, Japan)