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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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LESSON

That little owls
Smell like
Old tea towels.
That barn owls’ wings
Smell of the pages
Of old books.
The weight
Of the night
And the folded green
Of light.
The balance
Of hunger,
And the return
To earth.
Pinion and
Orange eye.
A changing wind,
And the heft
Of an eagle’s claw.
Eight miles
Of sight
In a few ounces,
And a life
Of floating
Between.

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Aeons of fast skies
Have worn smooth these hills.

Chosen colours have rubbed in,
Silence folded into sound.

These lacing waters,
These rock dark ribs.

A breath of rain,
A consideration of leaves.

A subtle exchange,
A movement towards earth.

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Too many references to ‘super moon’, only one I saw to Guru Purnima, which is this full moon in July dedicated to all our teachers.

FAST SMOKE (Guru Purnima)

Through a fast smoke of cloud
This golden moon, full as it can be,
Wrapped with light and golden,
Arcs out of sight,
Golden in a golden morning.

From its vastness it has seen the sun,
Seen the day, breathed in light,
Exhaled in fullness.

Absorbed, we are absolved of necessity,
Filled up with ample goodness.
No need to know. Nothing obscured.
Nothing beyond reach.
Enfolded radiant, as this moon.

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NO QUESTION

This is it:
The reflection
Of your being.
This room,
Quiet,
morning bright.

This window,
Filtering sound,
Slowing light,
Holding colours.

This view:
Veils of sun and rain,
Small birds blustered by.

Something special
In its commitment to itself.
But unremarked, unremarkable.

This patterning of storm cloud:
Unimaginable, dissipating,
Casual omnipotence.

This sequence of days:
Rosary of heartbeats,
Rosary of tears.
A meditation on dreaming
And waking.

Seeded by other’s autumnal self-reflections, particularly Masqua’s Art…..

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DREAM SUTRAS

Something here in Japan, perhaps the lightness of the summer mornings, perhaps the way the land subtly shivers and sways, perhaps that we are intruders unfamiliar with the nuence of its neural patterns, make night dreams here more vivid. Certainly I awake more often from fright, or from discomforting imagery than at home. An alien technology, or maybe the sake!

in Japan
these eloquent dreams:
still completely mysterious.

Last night, a strong constant wind accomapied us through the entire night. Sometimes I would wake and wonder if a rainstorm was passing overhead, the roar was so steady and insistent.

the long wind
fuelling strong dreams.
mysterious purpose.

Of all the dreams that night there was one particularly convoluted and long-lasting, (or so it seemed). Based around an old man, something of a genius, both an artist and a scientist, as well as an amateur sleuth or criminal investigator. He was involved in many complex layers of research, but was the bane of those who loved and cared for him as his health was failing fast and yet he would not take rest nor ease up on his schedules.

Long wind,
who is the dying sage
so eloquent and ancient, in my dream?

dragon wind
dreams of sages
utterly bemusing.

An interesting point I saw recently on a post about haiku was that amongst the many ‘rules’ was one that stated that a haiku should make no comment. Haiku as a record of perceptions that can evoke numinous emotion without explicitly saying what the emotion should be. Like a haibun, a haiku can lead to endless mazes of commentary and extrapolation. A thought motif, a riff, a theme, can lead to jazz-like improvisations. Now, this rule is not one of simple objectivity. The poet is always objectifying the internal as well as external. Perhaps it is the avoidance of the passing of judgement, not reinterpreting or making a second or a third judgement, that makes haiku resonant, that prevents it simply becoming a commonplace sentence divided into short lines. Who knows…

how many miles is this long wind?
night-long it roars through the curtains.
even my own dreams
are a complete mystery to me.

Haiku, seen as a child-like entrancement (entrancing entrance), a fluidium between self and not-so-self. Paying attention to when nothing is happening, we discover that something is…

roaring dragon wind
how many miles
do you traverse?

as wide as the moon:
this long wind
over hills and valleys.

There is a shamanic, primal sort of awareness in the best haiku. An overlay of worlds. A denial of incorrect or correct ways of perception. Juxtaposition, significant only because it is juxtaposed. For an instant, in this mind, and then in the mind of the reader, sense data and interpretations hold equal value, are equally valid, equally ephemeral.

long wind,
aching bones.
mysterious dream
of ancient sages.

maybe it is my aching bones:
dreams of ancient sages
and steep hillsides.

long night wind.
my dream too,
arising from distant lands.

dream sutras
though inexplicable,
endlessly fascinating.

Finally, the long hours of the night begin to move away, light edges between things, but the wind, having blown away most of my thoughts, still remains.

long wind
blowing away night
to other lands.

In daylight, the warm airs sweep yellows and golds. The palm tree still shaking its dry fronds between the houses, laughing, dancing, bending, chanting.

cats in the sun
eating, sleeping,
composing haiku.

—–

dragon lantern

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Here are a couple of haibun inspired by the Ligo haibun Challenge for this week
(http://yourligo.weebly.com/haibun.html)

PEACE

The rising wind scours the walls, all four. Swings down and sings in the chimney, brightening the small flames. It is late. The cats are attentive, but unwilling to stir. Content will the small silences of the house. If I wait, the tumble of the day will subside. Thoughts will scatter, settle, lilt into corners like leaves do in autumn. Perhaps one or two shall remain to keep the company.

afterglow of single malt
bees dozing in noon sun
something important, forgotten

PEACE 2

They turn so carefully, the cats. First one way, then, after some thought, the other. Winding up to relax. Taking just the right angle for air, for warmth, for watching. Not a hair out of place, their senses, too, sleek and flowing.

still rivers of wind-
inside the house
not silence, but listening

fire roars
sings and whispers
longing for wind’s freedom

slow, long voices
wind and rain-
dream language

soon the fire will falter
though the fast winds run
we turn, fall into dream

**

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