In the depths of winter,

when I stand as one of the white birch

when the ravens come to rest atop

silent pines and the fields calm

I finally know I am alive when I hear my heartbeat.

The winter sky holds
the empty field
waiting for the
snow shadows
to fall with silence
and with peace.


Home is that place
with the open gate
and the familiar road
lined with tree shadows
and silence of a full
heart and a clear mind.


I walk through the shadows
closing the path.

The silence consumes reason,
replaced with fear and awareness.

I walk through the shadows
as a visitor seeking nothing

more than solitude and the
desire to fall within my thoughts

until they are scattered into the forest
and consumed by these shadows.

I walk through the shadows
a fragment of my self

until I become one with each tree
and the creatures pass unbothered.

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Leaving behind the city
we pass the line separating
concrete and dirt path.

Recent snow has hardened and crunches
with each step.

I pause and silence myself
and hear ravens nearby.

I pause and hold my breath
and imagine what secrets are beneath the empty field.



Through silence I find
the universe’s voice and
when balanced it is
a reflection of myself.

Midnight sky. White dots.
So many they blend into
a haze across what
astronomers measure in parsecs –
whatever the official distance or definition
I know this –

I stand in awe at the heavens,
the light, and energy I feel
as warmth, the darkness filled
with particles, the part I play
as something made with the same
particles and the connection I feel
to water’s continuous motion as the
sky falls into the sea and the sea
consumes my body.

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The Gate
The Gate

Passing the building made of stone
outlines of people in the windows.
Are they watching the patch-robed
monk passing by?

What experiences brought them here?
What truths do they have?

When the seasons change for the
last time of the present life,
experience, truth, non-truth – merge
a final push to reach further
down the path.

The road leads where the mind thinks
in not thinking the road disappears.

The snowy fields beyond the
closed gate neither sing nor cry.
They wait silently.

Even the falling snow makes no sound.

And the echo you hear is my heart racing
as I stand at the closed gate.

Shared from
Shared from

From a distance I asked the tree
Silent questions.

For days we stood face to face
In the gulf of uncertainty as

Words flowed between in a language
I did not know.

Its leaves began to change
and I asked how this felt. Does it hurt?

When the leaves began to fall en masse
I asked again if it hurt.

Still no discernible answer.
When the snow began to fall

Its skeleton limbs provided little
Shelter and I briefly thought

To use them to make fire as the
Temperature dropped and the

Earth hardened beyond recognition
The path I took no longer visible.

On a particularly cold evening the sky
Cleared and the moon like water

Sought every corner of the fields
Bringing them to life in this darkest of days.

How beautiful the tree burning like a new
Lover seeking approval, the first impression.

With these thoughts I fell
asleep to the sound of nothing

and lost myself to hard questions
struggling to place myself within.

I awoke and a tree was closer
my head upon a root.

Senzing Zen_01I see a stone path through the graying clouds
this near November day.

I remember the day smothered
by black clouds torn from the sky.

I watched you dance in the cold
rain pooling with no care of those watching.

Swirling faster as the rain fell
harder until collapsing in a heap.

Perfect silence as I walk to you
offer a hand to pull you closer.

Standing together, rain washes over our
faces whispering words only we know.

That day walking through the burning forest
I followed the path you created.

Sharing the same plane and experience
from your point of view.

At times, I do not understand or see
what you see, what drives your passion.

But I know you are alive, a being
with awareness of what is out here.

And for that and because of that
I love you.

To help with my writing funk, I’ve been reading a lot more than usual.  And that advice is always given to writers: read more.  Read different genres or subjects than what you are writing about.  This helps to expand your mental awareness and give a larger pool of ideas and images to the mind and imagination.

AK-20070727-20070805 032I finished the first book about Zen Master Ryokan “Sky Above, Great Wind”.  This has provided two straight weeks of new writing each evening.  The most productive I have been in some time.  I feel there is much more I can learn from him and have started another book titled: “Great Fool: Poems, Letters, and Other Writings”.

AK-20070727-20070805 114While reading about his life, his writing, source of inspiration, and how he chose to live, I feel a connection of sorts, and a desire to continue on a path of simplicity and immersion in nature.  What else can we do but embrace what is around us, and care for each tree, each blade of grass, and each dew-drop.

The moon rises near Orion and the recent snow glistens as I listen to nothing but the footsteps of a rabbit and the quiet breath of Leroy as she watches over the land near a fallen leaf, a gentle reminder of change and the resilience of what we live and breathe within.

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