The Spring 2014 issue of Stone Path Review has been published to the website. A viewable and downloadable PDF will be available shortly. This issue features visual arts by Aaron Bowen, Jimmy Ostgard, W. Jack Savage, Julian J. Jackson; poetry by Cambria Jones, Charles Wilkinson, Daniel Flanagan, John Grey, Mark J. Mitchell, Rachel Nix, Richard Hartwell, Rob Schultz, Robin Wyatt Dunn, Timothy B. Dodd; short story by Robert Schmidt.
Working on edits the other day and my own essay and something about the word “as” really struck a cord with me. As implies and makes assumptions. It generalizes a group or individual.
Take for example the title of this post. It starts with “as writers”. It assumes to include and be a voice for all writers, for all time, starting now, as soon as you read the words. It does not exclude any type of writer or genre – all writers should do this, whatever point this post is trying to make. If you are a writer, you do not have much choice, or a chance to respond.
“As” can also assume and impose a limitation on one subject, which may not be intentional, and potentially lead the reader down the wrong path.
Additional examples specific to poetry or fiction:
- I fell as the leaves do.
- I went to the party as superman.
- I ran as fast as I could.
- The lakes and glaciers stretched as far as I could see.
- As I waited for you, it rained.
- As humans, we are failing.
If the writer desires the reader to make the assumption or limitation “as” is implying, the context and story must support and encourage the statement, and never contradict. A way to avoid any confusion or leading the reader astray, is to be verbose and state exactly the conditions of the assumption, the properties one subject is taking from another. If there is a limitation, give the reader a little more information. If two subjects, objects, or conditions are really the same, then “as” is perfect.
Dreams of home become reality and I will be heading back to Alaska in June. I am heeding the call of the Brooks Range and will be backpacking in the Romanzof Mountains for awhile. My spirit, my being, has become tarnished and lost in the daily chaos and chosen lifestyle. A remote expedition is sorely needed to return to my roots, and continue the spiritual journey, to continue the path I so desperately need.
Here are two beautiful videos from different areas of the Brooks Range.
I know you are out there, and I hope you are waiting for my return. Each day you swim within my thoughts, attaching to everything I think, consuming what ever I have left.
A slow walk across the airfield
beneath mountain shadows.
I see pictures of you and building emotions overflow and surface things I have kept hidden.
I watch the sunset
in silence and with
eyes closed I leave here
and land there.
What is home? I do not hear a voice calling me home. I feel the tug and pull on every nerve, muscle, and bone. I feel my mind and being transported through time, through memories and experiences, back into the kayak, and through the mountain pass.
Massive clouds collide with
mountain tops and the rain
blankets the sound with
soft drumbeats, accompanied
by distant thunder.
I’ve been continuing to read the book The Deep Ecology Movement. This includes an introduction to the movement and a collection of essays with varying thoughts and opinions. Along with finding many similarities to Buddhism, I feel this is a meaningful framework to express nature and humans, and the dependency of each on the other, and the critical task to strike balance.
An important concept that would help to start down the right path is the ecological self. A quote from the essay “Self-Realization: An Ecological Approach to Being in the World” by Arne Naess -
“We may be said to be in, of and for Nature from our very beginning.”
My favorite quote that sums up everything simply and elegantly is from John Haines -
“We speak of nature, of the natural world, as if that were something distinct from ourselves and the social world we appear to have made, seldom noticing that we are in nature and never out of it…”
The following are a selection of haiku poems from Right under the big sky, I don’t wear a hat, the haiku and prose of Hosai Ozaki.
I look back at the shore, not one footprint let
The cigarette is dead, I cast away the loneliness
Dead leaves shake down the trees and broom the blue sky
A single garden rock places, evening comes
A pine grove let the children go home and is darkening
Such a good moon, I look at it by myself and go to sleep
I cup sparrow’s warmth, let it go
The following two poems from the book The Recorded Sayings of Layman Pang, Weatherhill 1971, translated from the Chinese by Ruth Fuller Sasaki, Yoshitaka Iriya, and Dana R. Fraser
I have a great robe
Not of this world’s silk.
It can’t be dyed by any color,
Being crystalline, like white floss.
No scissors were used to cut it,
No thread was used to stitch it.
I keep it always close about me,
But there’s no man who of himself has seen it.
It shelters a Trichilial** Cosmos from heat and cold,
Covering over sentient and non-sentient alike.
Should you be able to obtain this great robe,
Having donned it, you straightway enter the palace of the King of emptiness.
**A thousand to the third power, or one billion worlds. This is said to constitute the domain of a buddha.
The past is already past–
Don’t try to regain it.
The present does not stay–
Don’t try to touch it from moment to moment.
The future is not come–
Don’t think about it beforehand.
With the three times non-existent,
Mind is the same as Buddha-mind.
To silently function relying on Emptiness–
This is profundity of action.
Not the least dharma exists–
Whatsoever comes to eye leave it be.
There are no commandments to be kept,
There is no filth to be cleansed.
With empty mind really penetrated,
The dharmas have no life.
When you can be like this
You’ve completed the ultimate attainment.
The following translations are from the book Original Teachings of Chan Buddhism, by Chang Chun-Yuan, A Vintage Book, 1971.
From Master Tsao-shan
He who says that a dragon is singing in the dry woods
Is he who truly sees Tao.
The skull has no consciousness,
But wisdom’s eye begins to shine in it.
If joy and consciousness should be eliminated,
Then fluctuations and communication would cease.
Those who dry this do not understand
That purity is impure.
From Master Fen-yang
Under the moonlight are the towers and chambers of a thousand houses;
Lying in the autumn air are lakes and rivers of myriad li.
Blossoms blow in the reeds, differing not in their colors.
A white bird descends the white sandbank of a stream.
There is the perfect moment -
birds sing, the wind
circles the body,
dogs lay and sniff the air,
ravens and ducks land
on rooftops and trees,
prairie grass crackles -
when burdens fall away
with no effort.
Briefly what followed
leaves – I become aware of this
too quickly and everything tumbles back
but I remember how I got to that place
and continue to savor the moment.
I remember the field when it was empty
and when I was truly me.
Each day becomes the practice
to instill a clear mind – not full
but mindful of the fullness.
Each day becomes the understanding
of where I am from before
tearing apart, digging deep
and removing the fragments
and placing them on the ground
showing their true colors in
the rising sun and as a
witness to each piece the raven takes away.
Rust faded chair
surrounded by blue flakes
still rocks with ease.
Facing west I sit just
before sunset – time
to relax, find the right
position, let the coffee
cool and eyes adjust
to waning light.
Hood up the evening
wind cold from across
the frozen pond
burning with purple and orange.
Selections 4 and 5 for National Poetry Month. These two poems of Zen Master Ryokan are from Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf, Zen Poems of Ryokan, translated by John Stevens.
If someone asks
“The east edge of
The Milky Way.”
Like a drifting cloud,
Bound by nothing:
I just let go
Giving myself up
To the whim of the wind
The Autumn Moon
The moon appears in every season, it is true,
But surely it’s best in fall.
In autumn, mountains loom and water runs clear.
A brilliant disk floats across the infinite sky,
And there is no sense of light and darkness,
For everything is permeated with its presence.
The boundless sky above, the autumn chill on my face.
I take my precious staff and wander about the hills.
Not a speck of the world’s dust anywhere,
Just the brilliant beams of moonlight.
I hope others, too, are gazing on this moon tonight,
And that it’s illuminating all kinds of people.
Autumn after autumn, the moonlight comes and goes;
Human beings will gaze upon it for eternity.
The sermons of Buddha, the preaching of Eno,
Surely occurred under the same kind of moon.
I contemplate the moon through the night,
As the stream settles, and white dew descends.
Which wayfarer will bask in the moonlight longest?
Whose home will drink up the most moonbeams?
Just read three wonderful articles in the latest issue of Shambhala Sun that I wanted to share.
- Going Full Superman, by Koun Franz
- A look at superheroes and the most important trait they can teach us: selflessness.
- The Dharma of Distraction, by Judy Lief
- Why do we allow ourselves to be distracted? Are we afraid or fearful of finding who we truly are, our true being hidden within?
- George Saunders on Kindness, interview by Melvin McLeod
- We can breakdown any wall and bridge the gap between others through one small act of kindness.
Review of Candidates for sainthood and other sinners, by Don Cellini
Spanish translation by Fer de la Cruz.
Publisher: Mayapple Press 2013
The title of Don Cellini’s poetry collection really sets the tone for what is inside. Don presents everyday scenes of real people with real problems and how they cope, and sometimes just get by. Nothing is glorified and nothing is exaggerated. We are witness to what is happening on the streets, and from that we are allowed to form our own opinion, and perhaps take a side regarding who we consider the saints to be and who we consider the sinners to be. Part of the powerful imagery is accomplished by the landscape and background being given a voice and a part to play.
- It was chilly and I awoke before
- Haitian mothers use their hands
- All he asked for was a ride home.
A poem about violence, which contained the most powerful lines in this book: “The stars closed their eyes”, and “… and the moon had to turn away.”