Saturday, September 8, 2012

Wasting Time

These days I am back to reading Dogen, and getting it a little more.  He is the foremost poet-teacher of Zen, and has to be understood in the way you understand a poem - you experience it, let it soak in.  I like to read a few lines and be stopped to stay with something.  This morning it was this, from Actualizing the Fundamental Point, or Genjo Koan.
Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.  The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water.
There are many beautiful pictures online of the world reflecting in a drop of water.  But what I thought of as I read this was one of my favorite poems, in which the great light and life in everything is reflected in distant cowbells, in dried horse manure and the empty house, in the predator/prey world of the hawk. James Wright experienced a beauty much larger than our usual confined definition of "beautiful" and also the urgency of being awake. How when we are operating in a daze of desires and duties, we are not really alive.  When we are awake and alive, the moon is reflected even in us, and no moment is wasted.

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
                           by James Wright
Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,   
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.   
Down the ravine behind the empty house,   
The cowbells follow one another   
Into the distances of the afternoon.   
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,   
The droppings of last year’s horses   
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.   
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

[Click here for a link to the brief Wikipedia entry on Wright, which points to his most popular poems.]

1 comment:

  1. A post and poem so beautiful I feel the top of my head gone, open only to bursting light. . .