October 22, 2014

Images and Reflections, Series II

Photographs by Yao Xiang, with accompanying
haiku and poetry by Issa, and others

Kausika the brahmana, who is now roasting in Hell,
set his heart on Virtue, and in all his life never told a lie,
even in jest.

Once having seen their helpless victim run past him and hide,
Kausika, sitting where the rivers meet, answered the thieves:
"That way."

So be as the swan, who drinks from milk and water mixed
together, whichever one he choose, leaving the other behind."
-- from William Buck's rendition of The Mahabharata


A caterpillar
this deep in fall
still not a butterfly
-- Basho


The thorns of this world
pierce the clouds of vain desire
roots -- growing upward




Filled with gratitude
Both the sky and I
bow low
and weep golden tears




Old tired hummingbird
whisper yet another year
Left ear of God.


"Do not suddenly break the branch, or
Hope to find
The white hart behind the white well.
Glance aside, not for lance, do not spell
Old enchantments. Let them sleep.
'Gently dip, but not too deep',
Lift your eyes
Where the roads dip and where the roads rise
Seek only there
Where the grey light meets the green air
The hermit's chapel, the pilgrim's prayer."
-- From Landscapes by T.S. Eliot





Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour

Light the first light of evening, as in a room
In which we rest and, for small reason, think
The world imagined is the ultimate good.

This is, therefore, the intensest rendezvous.
It is in that thought that we collect ourselves,
Out of all the indifferences, into one thing:

Within a single thing, a single shawl
Wrapped tightly round us, since we are poor, a warmth,
A light, a power, the miraculous influence.

Here, now, we forget each other and ourselves.
We feel the obscurity of an order, a whole,
A knowledge, that which arranged the rendezvous,

Within its vital boundary, in the mind.
We say God and the imagination are one...
How high that highest candle lights the dark.

Out of this same light, out of the central mind,
We make a dwelling in the evening air,
In which being there together is enough.
-- Wallace Stevens (1954)






The earth and the sky
bound for slaughter,
vast and free
meeting in progress

That pure space into which flowers endlessly open...
that pure unseparated element which one breathes
without desire and endlessly knows,
A child may wander there for hours,
through the timeless stillness...
Or someone dies and is it.
For, nearing death, one doesn't see death;
but stares beyond....
-- Rilke


You have everything
why not give it all away
there's nothing to lose


Giant wisteria
its deep roots grow old beneath
my stone hermitage


Wonderous sunset
so full of beauty and grace
when the sun's eye blinks


The toad! It looks like
it could belch
a cloud.
-- Issa


How strangely secure
this world of illusion seems
now - open your eyes!


The temple bell stops.
But the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.
-- Basho