Category Archives: nature

Lost in Zen

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Lost in Zen

Born like a dream

in this dream of a world,

How easy in mind I am,

I who will fade away

like the morning dew. — Zen poem

*******

Born like a dream

Says the poet, 

This dream of a world.

Ah, but 

Even Issa,

troubador of liberation,

wept when 

his child died,

his little girl.

This world may be a dewdrop, 

he said,

This world–

 and yet….and yet…
Keenest of Zen poems and
the most awakened.

Don’t believe that Zen monks

in their mountain abodes

Did not weep,  were not lonely.

Even Satori may not bring peace

from the grasp for 

child- warmth,

From heart loss of the smile

That lit the mornings?

We are not awakened who do not love.
Even those who see Being

Illusory, transient, 

reach for the  sudden reflection on the water

of the  vanished image,

May listen, heart beating for the absent one,

To the calling of night birds

Under stars and pines

in the hut on the hillside.
…Deep Autumn,

How does my neighbor live,

I wonder?

How happy to drink

wine with a visitor,

If only in memory.

Alone with the rocks

And tathata, oneness,

We still hope to see  a

human form on the hillside.

…As I gathered firewood

You came to visit!

Your sandals stirred the dust on the floor,

But I was not here.

…Don’t worry, Spiders,

I keep house casually–

you are my companions

among the jagged granite,

the ever more windblown hemlocks.
Even a Zen master

May long to see Buddha

On the road… to kill him?

Look first in his eyes to

see your true nature,

Just 

As the gray mouse

Appears  and whisks away

Behind these thin pine walls.

The human eye,

Better to look into than to

Gaze upon God!

Said  Melville,

The master of destruction,

Shiva Nataraja who

Dances away the world!

Blake,  thought, 

eternal seer,

whispers:

Sorrow is not fit for immortals

And is useless to anyone.

Loss:

No loss.
The forest stirs in  soft wind,

Rain patters the hut roof

And I sleep, again in peace

With transitory being.

I have washed my bowl.

After the Zen poets, especially Issa.

–Ladybelle Fiske
(Isabella Fiske McFarlin)

March 1 2017

Pisces…

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Elegy for Prospero

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Written in about May, 1990, after my father died on April 25, 1990.

I speak here as Miranda, returning to “the magic isle” to see the place once more, and to seek for the magic her father renounced, hoping to find in it a sign of him.

Elegy for Prospero 
 
Miranda.
The landscape is without its central figure:
No gleam of silver hair
Nor laughter in the grove.  Gone is the wizard.
Singing birds move among the trees,
The sun is hot and rich, but he is gone.
I land my yellow boat upon the shore
And pull it in. Fish splash in reed and lily cluster
Round my bare feet in clear, still water.
Climbing the sandy path, I brush
An ancient, silvered stump which long ago
Served me for castle. Acorn kings dwelt there:
They, too, have gone.
This lush and tropic afternoon
A thousand-memoried scent
Emits from tiny budding figs
That he’ll no longer taste.
The ivy vine he raised around his window
Curls: abundant, and untroubled by his death.
                                    II.
Prospero, you are gone. Your absence
Permeates all. This red clay road, the stars,
The water– filled with your presence,
Filled with your absence.
Forlorn now the owl’s cry:
´There was lived here so vast, so powerful a life
That they who journeyed to our strange abode
Lingered, enchanted and amazed.
Yea, in this magic place,
A thousand spells were cast, a thousand dramas played,
Here miracles were wrought,
Here human and spirit did cavort,
But our revels now are ended.’
Unto this mysterious island I now return in wonder:
Into the silence, into the singing of birds
I inquire. The sky is deepening, empty.
Prospero, whence does that magic go
When the conjurer has renounced it?
Has it gone hence with he
Who stirred the storms?
Pine forest and memory answer:
“It yet awaits. It is in you.”
The whippoorwill begins its evening incantation.
–Isabella Fiske McFarlin

 

Please donate to help rebuild Rochester, VT. after Hurricane Irene

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https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rebuild-Rochester-Foundation-Inc/194653070602150?sk=wall

 
Help us rebuild Rochester, Vermont, home of Quarry Hill Creative Center. It has been hard hit by Hurricane Irene and many people can not live in their homes at all. We’d be grateful for anything you can do for the town and its residents (which includes us!).