Buddhist Intimations

in the soft air above the palms
all manner of birds fly free,
through the tangled brake of the jungle island
the iguana silently stalks its prey,
each night on my window screen
two geckos chirp
and feast on fluttering moths.

never despair of love,
its voice rings clear with the light of dawn
and the sounds of the setting sun.

in the mornings the master bows before buddha,
in the evenings i bow before the master;
asked why we bow, i say: it is not so.

have you seen us?
the master in the grey mist of dawn,
i in the candle-dimming dusk.

even so have i observed them.

i meditate to renew my strength
and be at one with stillness.

the master meditates
because he himself is meditation.

he does not sit crosslegg’d;
why should he stoop so low?

seated by your side, no words;
a fallen window screen
invites mosquitoes.

making love in the garden;
isn’t it nice
being a garden?

an assumed thought
assumes there is a thinker

the assumed thinker
assumes there is a thought

how sad.

under the bo tree
gautama lost his head
and became a buddha.

now we have traveled far and wide
searching for today,
tomorrow always waiting
a single thought away.

yet is it not so very clear
that wander where we may
the road is only in the mind,
there is no other way?

thus have i heard
thus have i seen
thus do i oft forget:

the future is a poor man’s game
the past survives but in the name
while now
      is always
                     to stay.


These poems were originally published in Androgyne magazine, San Francisco (1980)