Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ikkyu Sojun 5th C.

Under the blossoms,
a dilemma it is
when even the way home
is forgotten
a beautiful scenery.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Broken Plates Mending

The taverna reminded me of a rabbi
Offering multiple interpretations
Over the meaning of glass
Under the heel of the groom,
Met with joy for the sound
Of something fragile breaking.

Clear spirits are all around the world,
Every culture sharing in common
A moonshine, schnapps or grappa.
But only some celebrate the smashing
Whose purpose in destruction is as
Thoroughly fun as thoroughly veiled.

Now meaning swirled aside the Aegean,
Shards piling high near the dancer's floor.
A note of caution for the sandaled,
Recalling point one of the rabbi's remark:
Life is hard and sometimes hurtful
And many things go bump in the night.

Sounds of crashing also establish
A higher doctrine of truth and love.
Behind and within chance and change
is something  unmoving yet not unmoved;
A platonic lecture to drinking buddies:
Only love by beauty immortal makes.

But shattered plates amidst the laughing,
whoop another lesson or two,  for
Against the ancient hellenic theories
Today we relearn a different mistake:
That truth is lost, corrupt and stolen and
Nothing is beautiful that does not die.

Which is why we never worship
With plastic petals adorning altars
or gaze on icons of inkjet saints,
But with Lilies that brown unlasting,
We remember goodly sacrifice:
It is no offer that costs us nothing.

Solemn thoughts melt in the moment
Of dancing and twirling arms on arms
Of stranger and partner finding rhythm
Of new saints swaying to equal song:
Joy breaks through, past will or want,
And mending is there in broken plates.

Note:  Despite an uncertain economy, the Greeks have been universally fun and caring, certainly in the many tavernas we've had the good fortune to visit.  Have been reading again Plato's Symposium and considering old conversations about different stuff.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wherever You Go, There You Aren't

Intergalactic travel is no fantasy or fiction,
Or distant potential of the human race.
It is the reality of the mind on any given day,
At any moment before the altars of life,
Before the people we love or know nothing,
Within nightmares happening in the day,
Or blessed hopes wrapping the nightfall.
We drift or rocket to anywhere but here.

Opening minded ears for engines roar,
Better still the counting down to lift,
Prompts a slower departure or, if attended,
A cancellation of the stellar launch;
A place within the space we inhabit,
A holiness for the peace which passeth,
A before-us of replenishing beauty.

It is not natural to our species nor would it:
Our stature is designed for movement,
And our inclinations are far flung.
The moment is a composition of later and latter;
Hubblescapes of yesterday and tomorrow,
A great draft drawing us from middle now.

The advancement of our kind is acclaimed
By the elevation of this impulse toward other
Than what is and why not join that choir
Other than the consequence to a greater whole
suffering under a lapse of attending.

The metering out of humanity into parcels
Here, now,  there, then, done and not yet
Are more of the same: either, nor, neither, or,
Which solves less than it grieves.

The call may be simply just to make note
As we obey the obvious condition of ourselves
To be at once capacious and  contained.

We do more than walk a line between those poles,
But a merengue on a spiral staircase.

Present, dreaming, drifting, returning, attending, spin.

Note:  There is a certain surreal nature to sabbatical, as in thinking one could just get away and stop thinking about life as it is among those I love, family and friends.  Being present to three thousand year old ruins at that same time as offering prayers for the struggling thousands of miles away.  How do we balance today and yesterday and tomorrow?

St. Vitus

Classic, Roman, Renaissance, Baroque,
Rococo, Gothic, and art nouveau;
The gods of style threw up St. Vitus Cathedral
In a  misdemeanor of  minor consequence.
She stands proud high above great Praha
And offers hope to those who like it all.

Notions of graceful proportion,
Be they waist, bust, turret or temple,
Meander by generation,
Not progressing one upon the other
In some orderly manner and purpose
Proof of no intelligent design.

But this is the straw man's quest:
Order must be the means of grace.
Fools of faith are those who argue
upon this slender ground of the atheist.
God is not Pursuer of the Constant
I Am is motion, motive and meaning.

Beyond the other atrocities of history
Another judgement has been made upon
The fascist's, Maoist's, and communist's pogroms:
Their buildings stunk as badly as their soul.
The final argument for all protesting atheists:
Your buildings are awful and ghastly and dull.

There is more threat on the landscape of history:
Ayn Rand is still hero to the  nutty  patrol.
Her virtue of selfishness baldy exalted
Means more than vapid politician;
When the godless get blueprints,
Shallow is erected,  self the better goal.

Note: Imposing on  Prague's skyline, St. Vitus was built over centuries.  The lack of unity shows.  Visiting its imposing presence and expansive adjacent castle, we heard the  stories of communist rule.  The buildings of Hitler and Stalin are largely gone but a few ugly reminders punctuate the cities of Europe.  For reasons that escape the Christian mind, atheist Ayn Rand, and her fictional protagonist, architect John Galt, find resurgent popularity among some crazier parts of the body politic.  A virulent anti-communist herself, Rand's virtue of the Self is, ironically, the mirrored ugliness of the very system she hated.  But like bad buildings, bad ideas, I hope, meet the dozer of God's reign.