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Posts Tagged ‘Haiku-ish’

Book of Changes

I
Wind river
Ocean airs
Clouds race
Birds watch
From shelter
With anchor feet.
Sounds stretched thin.

“The Creative is heaven.
It is round, it is the prince,
The father, jade, metal, cold, ice;
It is deep red, a good horse, a lean horse,
A wild horse, tree fruit.”

II
News from far off
Sorrow and treachery.
Collecting radish seeds
As they ripen
Between the rains.

“The great prince issues commands
Founds estates, vests families with fiefs.
Inferior people should not be employed.”

III
Dawn already in the east.
Rain in the west.
We wait for news, and names.
The kettle bubbles.

“The well. The town may be changed,
But the well cannot be changed.
It neither increases nor decreases.
They come and go and draw from the well.
If one gets down almost to the water
And the rope does not go all the way,
Or the jug breaks, it brings misfortune.”

IV
Standing still,
All the flock, backs turned
To the wind.
When the storm is over
The grass shall taste sweeter.

“Innocence. Supreme success.
Perseverance furthers.
If someone is not as he should be,
He has misfortune,
And it does not further him
To undertake anything.”

I recently picked up a copy of Richard Wilhelm’s “I Ching or book of changes”. I had it many years ago, and though it is probably not the best translation, it carries a certain, stately grandeur in its language. This morning, in stormy weather, I decided to see what happened combining a few short verses I had written with random selections from the book. Meaningless and meaningful. Everything becomes oracular. Juxtaposition revealing the mysteries of the mundane.

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dark clouds.
blackbird singing.
pure heart

day by day
the rowan reddens –
memories stored for winter.

the old graveyard.
ivy and old man’s beard.
we all cling to what we once had.

morning mists.
a river dreams of seas.
dew in the stubble field.

reading poetry:
seeing the memories
of someone long gone

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BEYOND SPITE INN (haiku)

Cuckoo echoes cuckoo
Beyond Spite Inn
The road rises into cloud

This valley folds the green road
Rain drips from the copper beech
Grass bends over tumbled walls.

On Brynffo the spirits drift
Light as thistledown between the firs.
The sound of running water is their voice.

On Esgair Fwyog the sheep graze new grass.
The rain has melted distance.
A line of hills rest in sunlight

A sunlit hill.
Clouds shift.
It melts in rain.
Sound of running water

The steep slopes of Brynffo
Pine needles and the smell of bracken
Moving waters whispering

Lost in the dark forest
Whisps of mist drift aimless
Enjoying cool silence.

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THE SENDING AWAY OF NEGATIVE ENERGIES

One, two, three.
The thrush in the ash:
Vast mantra of space,
His bell voice and dorje bill.

Phurba crow
Struts alert amongst the dreaming sheep.
He stabs the ground
With a pure vision.

Silence as the clouds build to rain.
Taiko in the hills.
Lorry dungchens drone
On the valley road.

My ears are pierced with golden words.
Golden dust is in my eyes.
Golden smoke arises from horizon altar.
The Will of Heaven, unfathomable
As ever.

Some say there are stories to tell,
Some say stories to disprove.
In every hedge a blackbird rattles alarm,
Though there is nothing to fear.

Who has the shell as blue as sky?
The robin, I think.
Its white eternal arc
Is the world turned inside out.
Lying unnoticed, fallen from the chapel hawthorn.
A ruse to escape death.

Like shinto priests
The magpies strut with care the chapel roof.
They enunciate name and place
And the desires of each supplicant.
Hop and bow, hop and bow,
And call aloud to the spirits
Who will listen.

Whilst the domed mountain
Rests in Wang-Wei
And Wang-Wei rests in the mountain.
The ghosts of words stretched thin,
Their lips unsure whether to cry or smile,
But that is the nature of prayer and praise.
The whines of the psalmist irritating the gods
To distraction.

Give a little thought to the little things,
The wriggling life stepped upon unseen.
The unconcerned hosts, the vast inconsequential
Upon whom you rest.
The threads wear thin,
The seed unhurried.

A syllable breath forms
In the river’s mouth.
Never quite uttered.
Never quite understood.

We have not enough silence,
Not enough pause to continue here long.
From the dimpled, starry horizons
The Protectors gather.
What shall they deem worthy,
And what destroyed?
It is not a trick question.
But there is no answer.

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PAKAD: CLOUDLESS SILENCE

It is a cloudless silence, a stretched skin of light,
White wheel of sun and moon, stars silver singing road,
Painted vast and edgeless, the deep rolling earth
Breathing in hills, dreaming in valleys.

Cloudless silence here
White light pierces winter mind.
The tumbling waters

Cloudless silence here
Lost in mist, crow calls its mate.
Cold air, dogs barking.

Cold breeze shifts the mist
Dogs bark in the distant town.
A cloudless silence

In cloudless silence
All these thoughts fall silent now.
Footsteps on the road.

A delicate touch
Keeping warm this egg of words.
New cloudless silence.

Three crows dancing song
Cold breeze on the snowcapped hill.
A cloudless silence.

Pakad, jor, alap.
A slow unfolding morning.
This cloudless silence.

A pakad is a theme in Classical Indian music. It is a short series of notes that identifies and characterises every raag. It appears and reappears throughout each piece of music. It is a constant moment of return to mood and purpose.
Alap is the slow development and investigation of the note sequences of a raag, a discovery of themes.
Jor is the section that continues the development within a more rhythmical framework.
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Spring sun.
All is forgiven.
Though the bitter wind!

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MABINOGION HAIKU

This golden river.
Words bob down the long ages-
Mysterious truths

Moon well, sun cauldron.
Who would not become transfixed?
Their utter beauty.

There is not one thing
That is not another thing.
Pay attention, Pwyll!

Green mound lost in fog.
What dream does the world dream here?
breath weaves life and death.

How could she be true?
Oak and broom and meadowsweet,
Made of season’s change.

Do not take possession
Of what is not yours.
(And nothing is yours).



Sort of a hybrid between haiku form and gnomic verse. Apologies for all those who do not know the allusions, but those who know the Four Branches might take some little pleasure in these fragmentary nods…

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