the afternoon sun is strong
even though apple blossoms are weeks away
and only slightest hints of early-green
appear on the knoll horizon
smoke drifts from the pile of collected brush
as my father points out streaks of grey
in the stubble on my cheek
i always wonder if there is more to come
it was a purple one that first caught his eye
as we walked through the field—
perhaps some sort of clover,
but i don’t know the name in french.
papa, he showed me,
adding the smallest white daisies
and a few others i don’t recognize—
a tall thin grass, and
even dandelions, too.
they might not last the car ride home,
but they’ve once been collected,
spilling gently over the edge
of the vase he made of his hand.
My first post here in more than eighteen months. I think the moments have still been with me. Perhaps I’ve been better at not becoming attached—or perhaps I’ve been neglecting to pay attention.
the rudbeckia aren’t usually still in bloom,
so close to my birthday,
and even these are brittle –
but in the patch near the small gravel pile,
perhaps sheltered by the overgrown viburnum,
if I’d noticed them last year I might have arranged
one more vase
and placed it by her bedside,
so she could have turned her head
and thought to herself,
how I love those black-eyed susans.
This entry was posted in
Photographs, Poems, Writing and tagged aging, death, emptiness, flowers, impermanence, love, mother, zen on . September 19, 2016
The picture of the two of us,
pulled from my suit-coat pocket,
leans on my dresser.
Square with rounded corners,
faded blue ink–
Kodak May 1980–
printed on the back.
I scanned it for my lock screen, too,
so I can see myself
leaning up against her in the slanted spring light.
The first few days after
Mom taught me how to die
but when I walk outside,
leaves are turning,
afternoons are darker now.
Our home is a pale shade of blue,
one you might find looking west in the spring
minutes after sunrise,
or in a robin’s egg whose green tints
have been replaced by gentle grays.
It was once a deep red,
more readily apparent in recent years
from the street-facing, sun-bleached southern side,
where spots of peeling and chipping have grown
past neighborly size,
reflecting the same inertia
that has kept me from replacing
the almost imperceptibly dripping basement pipe.
I peel an orange –
the fruit itself is disappointing and dry;
my son pushes the lawnmower
back and forth across the lawn,
glancing to me each time he makes a turn.
It’s the first time I’ve stood back so far.
sounds of tenzo’s teacups
and pots for oatmeal
filter through the zendo’s morning incense,
through my regret
for the unfolding of
the evening before.
a patch of emerging sunlight
slanted on the old oak floor
receives my prostration.
winter dawn strains through
snow sits over the grounds
with no thought of attainment.
tears in the zendo fall,
unencumbered by gravity.
This entry was posted in
Poems and tagged ango, buddhism, cold, morning, sesshin, snow, windows, winter, zazen, zen, zendo on . February 17, 2015