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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.

unknowings (draw a bird day)

a motion so finely tuned
it vanishes
in a shiver of light,
appearing as a hush,

an exchange of intersections–
a motion so finely tuned
it enters your breath,
singing your weary bones,

infusing your tired blood
with heartbeats, dancing–
a motion so finely tuned
and completely useless

that it fills you with hope,
measureless and heartbreaking–
whirling you alive inside
a motion–so finely tuned

For the Kick-About #54, “Whirligig”, I made a bird mobile by adding sky and bird collage to three different sizes of wooden rings and hanging them together. It was hard to get good photos, but Phil cleaned up the ones I sent him to give a clearer idea of the mobile in motion.

Here it is flat. I have it hanging in my living room where the ceiling fan keeps it moving.

My poem is in the quatern form, except it doesn’t rhyme, using words from Merril’s random word list that she posted on Sunday. I was inspired by Rumi’s poem “Whirling”, and, of course, birds.

When you dance the whole universe dances.
All the realms spun around you in endless celebration.
Your soul loses its grip.
Your body sheds its fatigue.
Hearing my hands clap and my drum beat,
You begin to whirl.

Beach I Ching 17: #58 Tui (opening)

#58 tui (opening)

light shimmers, exchanging waves between lake and sky
sky dances and calls spirit into the circle
the circle regulates the transforming rhythm of life
life gathers, flowing freely to reveal the truth

truth speaks clearly, stripping away the layered lies
lies pollute the conduits of reciprocity, erode trust
trust opens the way and brings people together
together magnifies all voices, singing them into light

“Be content with what you have.”–Kim Farnell
“You foster trust, and make mutual enrichment possible, by opening up your inner space to exchange.”–Hilary Barrett
“Spread the word, express the spirit in the human community.”–motheringchange.com
“Realize that you do not need to, and indeed cannot, improve on creation.”–Frits Blok

The quotes are from different commentaries on this hexagram.

The poem is once again in the bagua form: 8 lines with 8 words in each line.

You can see the rest of the Beach I Ching series here and here.

May 2022

we mark time
with numbers, naming
circles, lines–
converged
and then divided—each month
we begin again,

ending the
previous parcel
of days in
our minds—when
in fact they overlap—clouds,
sun, showers, flowers

A small shadorma chain for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday theme of beginnings and endings, picked by Yvette M. Calleiro. I meant to do something completely different with the circles of flowers I cut out, and perhaps I’ll explore that idea later. I got distracted with layering them in different ways.

When I was out walking yesterday I discovered a community garden on West 90th Street–full of tulips. I’ll be visiting it again, to see what’s in bloom in the coming months.

March 2022

impending
does not need to be
ominous
dark afraid–
it can stand on the edge of
hope nurtured with light

life scatters
its seeds into small
crevices–
finds the soil,
opens into roots growing
from tiny nowheres

spring arrives
with slow spiralling–
longer days
returning
once again, awakening
birdsong, touch of green

A shadorma chain for the arrival of March. Not much flowering here yet, but the birds are very vocal about spring’s immanence.

Beach I Ching 16: #43 Guai

#43 Guai Resolute

Will life spill over, fall from the heavens,
cascading down below, overflowing its limits, breaking through?
How to become the ritual that includes, gathers,
distributes everything as if it belonged to all.

Spirit dancing on currents, following the vibrating lines
of a delicate web, through portals, ancient stories
that talk of roots, the branches of trees
keeping the world order balanced and growing—true.

Everyone is born with the ability to make a choice.
–sunsigns.org

You cannot stop the spread of lies by spreading more lies.
–divination.com

Fear stalks its own reflection.
–cafeausoul.ocm

The call of truth involves danger.
–JamesDeKorne.com

A compromise with evil is not possible.
–ichingonline.com

Move at the abiding center of things and you never go astray.
–David Hinton

I started my Beach I Ching series the first year Nina and I began our blog, 2014, when I was photographing the things I had collected on the beach and noticed they formed hexagrams. I did a lot of them the first two years and then they fell by the wayside. But each trip to the beach I photographed more. One of my intentions for the past two years is to get back to doing them.

In Guai the water is above, the heavens below. It is a time when renewal is possible, a breakthrough. But it is a mistake to go about this cleansing in a negative way. And remember to be generous, and share the bounty. Be resolute and persevere.

You can see the rest of the I Ching series here and here.

The poem is in the Bagua form, which consists of 8 lines of 8 words each, divided into 2 stanzas.

January 2022: into the darkness

all of it, this New Year,
erasing the old one–
we wish it gone–
but it lingers, overlapping—

erasing the old one
in a circle of continuous return–
it lingers, overlapping–
there seems to be not enough space

for a circle of continuous return–
branches extending in all directions–
there seems to be not enough space
to hold everything–and yet

branches extend in all directions–
sometimes, for a moment,
we hold everything—and yet, still,
here we are, as always, between—

sometimes, for a moment,
pausing on the threshold–
here, where we are, between,
we can see eternity filling,

pausing on the threshold
under an infinite star-filled sky–
we can see eternity filling,
brimming with birds

under an infinite star-filled sky–
we wish it to stay,
brimming with birds,
all of it–welcoming this New Year

A pantoum for 2022. Happy New Year!

August 2021

the wheel turns–
we follow our tides
balancing

between waves
ebbing and flowing
together

Instead of a grid or circle collage this month, I decided to use this embroidery that I just finished. I signed up for a series of video embroidery instruction courses–every two weeks there’s a new one, with new ideas and techniques to learn. That was 2 months ago, and I’ve only just finished the first one…

This was a course on Indian embroidery motifs and techniques given by Saima Kaur. We were to choose a few bright colors and a bright background fabric, with perhaps the addition of black and/or white. My satin stitch has always been sloppy and I thought this would give me plenty of practice for improvement. I can’t say it improved much, though, and I also now know for sure that I don’t enjoy doing satin stitch that much. I did like the long and short stitches I used on the shells, and will use that again.

I love traditional art and the motifs of Indian folk art are rich and full of symbolism. This design is a distilled variation of common figures and themes seen both in Indian art and in traditional and religious art all over the world.

cascade

falling
gravitating
sheer and continuous
sparkled currents rising
in reflection
flowing

A badger’s hexastitch for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday prompt, the photo by Trent McDonald, below.

Trent’s photo made me think of all of Sue Vincent’s photo prompts, and all the watercolor mandalas I painted in response to her images. Thanks, Trent, for the equally magical landscape.

This badger’s hexastitch has a very cinquain-like feel to me–not intentional, but I think it works.

March 2021

what dream is this?  circling
spiralling into form
slipstreamed fertile reborn
continuous

Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday theme is dreams, so I’ve written a variety of dream poems for March, a dreamy month I think. I’ve interspersed some of my previous March grids.

March 19 grid 2s

in March I
ruminate return
remember
rains that be
come sun-dappled spring—shining,
blooming with birdwings

march 2018 grid s

dreams become
part of the landscape
filling in

march-17-grid-s2

colors
begin to dance
with waves of light, singing
sun into roots, filling
my nights with dreams
of dawn

Poetic forms are, in order, abhanga, shadorma, haiku, badger’s hexastitch.