Thursday Doors: Zen Garden
the entrance is an enso a glowing blue light
a form that contains nothing inside of the whole
spirit absorbed by essence emptied of ego
in silent simplicity opening, complete
My younger daughter took a few days off from work before Memorial Day, and one of her requests was that I take her as my guest to early morning member hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which are on Thursdays from 9-10 am. I had told her and her sister about visiting the Winslow Homer exhibit that way.
One of her favorite places in the museum is the Zen Garden. It wasn’t open in the early hour, but even after the museum opened to the public at 10, we were able to visit without any crowding–it’s tucked away among the Asian art, and if you don’t know where to look, you probably only discover it by stumbling upon it. It’s a bright open empty room with a rocks and a koi pond with a waterfall on the edges.
I used to post about my museum visits a lot, and perhaps in the future I’ll do a post on the Homer exhibit and also the paintings of Louise Bourgeois which were inexplicably hard to find. We asked directions three times, and only found it by accident in the end. But that meant that only one other person was there so we could really look at the art.
The museum also has many wonderful doors and door-like structures, such as the tiled niche above.
My poem is in the Japanese imayo form, which consists of four 7/5 syllabic lines. There is a planned caesura (or pause) between the first 7 syllables and the final 5. Another feature of this form is that it makes three poems–the whole, and one each with the 7-syllable lines and the 5-syllable lines, similar to a cleave poem, except that somehow it seemed more natural to me and easier to construct. I’ve included the color blue for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday #tastetherainbow prompt.
You can read more about the enso here.
And, as always, find more doors with host Dan Antion, here.
Rufous Treepie (Draw a Bird Day)
In your native landscape
they call you taka chor—
always wanting more, more–
Filling trees with loud calls,
to be both heard and seen–
crow to the core
The rufous treepie, a long-tailed bird native to India and southeast Asia, is known locally as taka chor, or “coin stealer”. Like all corvids, it loves shiny objects, and has no misgivings about taking anything that catches its eye.
Also, like all crows, it will eat pretty much anything, and is intelligent, adaptable, and opportunistic.
Primarily arboreal, it feeds mostly among the forest cover, and will often hunt with other bird species to flush out more insects from the trees. As its woodland habitat decreases, however, it has learned to live in urban parks and yards, and has no problem eating discarded human food or road kill, if that’s what’s available.
I chose the rufous treepie while looking for orange and black birds in honor of the Year of the Tiger. That may be my bird theme for the year–there are many to choose from.
The poem is an abhanga for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday. Appropriately, an Indian poetic form.
The top bird was done with brush and ink, the middle one is neocolors, and the bottom one is colored pencil with ink outlines–I found a feather quill pen I bought years ago in a box. It’s a bit tricky to use, and I’m out of practice. But I enjoyed working with it again.
Ibis (Draw a Bird Day)
keeper and creator
measuring magic by the moon
For Colleen’s #TankaTuesday poet’s choice and for Draw a Bird Day, a didactic cinquian.
The Egyptian god Thoth was often represented as an ibis, or an ibis-headed man. Like the sacred ibis bird, he was associated with knowledge, wisdom and the moon, but also much more. Scribe to the gods, he taught men to write. He was the reckoner of time, “he who balances”, a scientist and magician.
Millions of ibis birds were mummified in Ancient Egypt as offerings to Thoth. The sacred ibis is now regionally extinct in Egypt, although it is still found in other Sub-Saharan African lands.
One species of ibis found in eastern American coastal regions is the glossy ibis. From a distance it appears to be a mostly uniform dark color, but close up its feathers become an iridescent rainbow.
Today is #WorldMigratoryBirdDay. The glossy ibis flocks that breed along the NE coast migrate to the Gulf of Mexico for wintering. As with all shore dependent migratory birds, saving our natural shorelines are one key to their survival.
Also linking to earthweal open link weekend.
over and over
What dark fire is this
melting the air with fresh blood?
endless broken days,
ghost voices lingering in
an eternity of tears
Found in garage 2
I used to do a lot of calligraphy type stuff like this. This one is quote by Andre Gide. My husband is holding it up for me.
Counting (after Robert Creeley)
They begin with one.
But what if on a different day
we started. Not after,
but before. Another
opening even more perfect
than something. If they
saw emptiness, nothing at all?
Anything would fit.
Robert Creeley was a member of the Black Mountain poets, known for his spare and concise observations:
One day after another–
They all fit.
My poem “Counting” takes Creeley’s poem “One Day” and uses the words in it as the last words to each line of a new and different poem. This method of composition was invented by poet Terrance Hayes. He call it Golden Shovel. I wrote the poem as a response to a prompt from Atomic Poetry and it is published in the first Atomic Poetry volume here: https://wordpress.com/read/post/id/93205410/114
Enso is a calligraphic circle made with one stroke. This symbolic sphere encompasses everything, and also nothing.
Thank you Chang Liu
I am glad Kerfe saves everything and posted the poetry month bookmark from her daughter’s school. At first I thought Chang Liu was a poet of some Chinese dynasty: such eloquence! Then I realized he or she was a third grader at the school. I liked the poem so much I did a little version in a way I thought a third grader would do. There is a little sun coming out right now (7:30 AM) and it looks like a nice day.
There is hope in honest error
“There is hope in honest error, none in the icy perfection of the mere stylist”. Charles Mackintosh, Glasgow. I have always done calligraphy and love handwriting. Interestingly, Kerfe has knowledge of handwriting analysis, one of her many talents. This quote used to hang in the old Museum of Modern Art in Mackintosh’s distinctive architectural writing. I will post an example of his graphic style in a future post. His words ring true to me because I make a lot of mistakes while drawing and painting but I know there is hope in them. As an art teacher once said, there are a lot of happy accidents.
Thought for the day
Today’s NY Times magazine section deals with aging, and when I read this quote I was immediately inspired to do it in brush calligraphy (lacking a calligraphy pen at the moment). As a woman growing older, I don’t really think about my age; I don’t think Kerfe does either. We both are the same people we were back in the 70’s when we met. Although I am not jumping for joy each and every day, I see the world as a mostly wonderful place despite the truly horrible things going on. Doing this blog and reading the blogs we follow inspires me and every day I learn something new–art, poetry, cooking, books…it is all here. Every person I meet has something to teach, especially the older ones, but all of them. (All technology skills I have are thanks to my darling daughter). So despite the length of this quote, I am posting it with all respect to T.H White. I may have to reread this book which I read so many years ago. All hail the elders!