Monthly Archives: April 2013

Untitled

stars fade
as first shadows
play on apple tree branches

above the altar
the ancient window’s brass fittings
have acquiesced to open

bursting forth —
not two

nothing to be sure of
but the time for tea

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Touching the Heart Mind

Later today I will drive to the Temple in a likely swirl of emotions. I will leave my family behind for a four-day retreat, an opportunity that is a great gift. Yet I will be driving away from goodnight kisses, baseball and t-ball games, and chalk drawings on the driveway. Away from faces asking me why I have to go. I’ll leave behind my wife to pick up these pieces with grace and great generosity.

Sesshin, the name for extended retreats in Zen, translates as touching the heart mind. When I returned home from an eight-day sesshin last summer, the weight of this touching was almost too much to bear, too much to express. I wrote these words for my wife:

opening the door,
seeing each of you,
touching each of you,
tears not from missing you
[though how I did] --

but rising from a heart
once, twice, innumerably papered over
by each and every part
of our rushing lives.
a heart stacked upon
by ten thousand necessities
pressing down
on a space deep inside.

a heart now broken
open
so that the tears
streaking down my cheek
contain my whole life,
falling onto the rise of your shoulder.

Last Light

I know the first hints of leaves
are the lightest green.

Yet they appear black
against the wisps of clouds
and a sky growing pale
just before darkening.

He comments on them
looking up from his bed,
and asks to leave the curtains open.

It sure is nice light, I reply
and stroke his hair.
His stillness is perfect
even as he turns his head
for me to brush his other cheek.

A father and son will argue sometimes —

but the morning and its disappointment
are forgotten
in the last light
of this day.

Spring Haiku #1

deep night rain hammers
outside on the old tin roof —
blossoms arising

I drove home from work after midnight last night. It was my son’s eighth birthday. The cake from his celebration that I had missed sat half-eaten on the counter, surrounded by cards from his grandparents.

I haven’t had the time to capture poems and words lately, even as small snippets of them have run through my mind, my days. As I crawled into bed next to my wife last night, I heard the spring rain outside. For a moment, clarity.