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Posts Tagged ‘perception’

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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At the Heart of Yew
1
As it were,
Between slow chimes round, sparkling moments spill,
Skitter, bounce, slide
across cold marble.
Nothing remains to hold onto.
This is how it feels, numbed and white with wonder,
A mind subdued, language pared back to root,
A constellation of starlit echoing, free from constraint of pattern.
Absent is the comfort of story.
2
Through animal veins the forest branches roar.
The voice of the earth whispered thunderously.
A clearing storm that will favour no being
Above any other.
3
More fearful than this
infinite, swaddled and senseless dark
Is the single flash of light that illuminates all.
You would not believe it were so,
How everything
becomes its opposite.
4
And the small, small voices
bright as needles, cold as rain in summer,
Melting the defining edge, weighing innocence.
5
No view but the stars,
no voice but the stars
No answer but the stars.
They fall and rise,
ripening red and white,
the bitterness of their light
Will wake the sleeping,
will wake the dead.
6
The bright thin eye of the wren,
the sweet rich tongue of the dunnock.
Squeezed and rolled, the buttress trunk folded upon itself,
Sediments of light and time
extruding green needles into quivered silent air.
Fermentation of dream and myth, a searched-for language
That roots in the atlas, the convolute backbrain,
The sequence of pushing through,
the tangled mass
Holy folds haunting bone.
7
Tumbling towards boundlessness,
dear misconception treasured,
our only possession.
This is not part of the story-
we wanted wings and crowns, sunsets sipping wine,
A simple validation of good and bad,
a certainty on the chain,
a place on the ladder,
Forever forgetting, of course, the wheel that turns,
the hub that crushes, the severing spokes
The wheel of the law.
this tree revolving upwards,
rolling downwards,
waiting in darkness.

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SUNSET 10 (This Some Summer Sunset)

This some summer sunset,
Not enough of it even to work out
Which what words and as to emotions, feelings, memories,
It is a splash, a fat man’s belly flop
Makes sense, makes no sense.
We dress up time so, we dress up space,
With word and cause and story so,
Do we not? Do we not, instead of
Instead of knitting it in, gobbling it,
Consuming it, we pick around the edges
What is this? Do I like this? Like kids.
Don’t like beans. Don’t like. Do I like?
What is it I wonder gets in the way.
Is it these words, this mind minded to disturb all things
By poking around what is it? What is it called? What do you do? What do you do?
What is it for? Better to ask what do you not do.
Where are you void. More likely , then, perhaps, perhaps.
Well then, well then this sunset, end of day, end of moment.
Everything left is squeezed out – warmth, light, colour
In one last something. Not a moment not a fraction. A slide,
A dance, a declining breath, an elemental, really an elemental thing
Pushing buttons, or maybe that is just a weak poetic nature, words over deeds
Thinking over doing, a subsidence, a changing.
As much an entity as a breathing heart-stopping being is.
As much a smiling, frowning, complaining
Finite living, dying, changing thing.
The words will not do, they dance around, they are neither photographic
Nor autobiographic, nor philosophic. Generated, self-generated, unreached,
A mystery, so to say.
A mystery and a vast thing bursting in, changing, erupting, leaving as if,
But not as if it had never been, changing everything.
It cannot, thus, be described. An ocean of infinite depth
Pouring through a door ajar. All ghosts, all thoughts, all breath, all all
Led westwards in a blaze and then gone to a different silence.
Is and is not is. How things are. What the sages know. What drives us mad.
What we forget. What we long for. To be taken up within it.
The chariot of the warm sun and carried under the earth,
bones trailing rainbow light ’til we all emerge
Tentative then radiant, but always utterly forgetful,
Into the dawn.

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A truth that believes

A truth that believes
it is the whole of the truth
Is a poison.

There are ghosts
In the dark, draughty attics
Believe themselves
Kings
Who are owed.

But it is not so.

A point of view
Draped
Over a few seconds
Is not, for sure,
To be relied upon
To define an aeon
Nor a purpose
Nor a good yarn.

All philosophy
Summed up and sundered:
The raven, sharp-eyed
And hungry
From his cliff nest
At break of day.

Expectant
Of
Nothing.

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This land,
The land of the dead,
A second skin, translucent,
Golden.

At the centre of each apple,
The sign of love:
The fivefold mutable, son and mother.

Over mountains a cream and violet fog,
Rolled, undulous, attentively folds.
A mysterious union,
Somewhat secret and holy.

The sky, a long vowel, holding its light.
A fluent time,
A tickled, breezeless sigh.
Not so still as to be nothing.

For the tiny roar
Of valley trees, a whispered thing
Measuring miles.

Vaporous drop,
Drip, congealed,
A reflected skin of nothing,
A silver round fruit,
Womb, belly, dream.

This skin
Is our beautiful horizon,
An inner organ.
Our own birdsong:
A poetic heart.

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A pearl day, smoke shaped.
A lick of mist this river’s voice.

Hills turn cloud, clouds become all.
A single dreaming moment
Explains everything.

More precious than breath
It lifts weightless, turns and dissolves,
Sky colours leaning out.

What was golden dulls to dust.
An aching tumble of sweet May,
A thorned white wave enthroned.

A season’s birth heavy laid,
A full descent, a grace,
An offered all, begun.

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KEY FIVE
(Beinn Sguraval, Barra)

Mountain wearing a cloak of flowers.
Grey door.
See in new ways:
Relax, allow your sight.
Where your attention flows,
There is a doorway.
Veils of rain
Thousand primroses
Wonderful!
Melt meanings,
Dissolve barriers.
Music is the ordering of silence.
See with your heart.
Nothing is hidden but in clear view.
You yourself are the key.

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