Friday, May 29, 2015

Bodhidharma (Hakuin), Sonnet #244

For Lucien Stryk

His eyes tell us he grasps nothing he sees.
Nothing like shock, wonder, or puzzlement
(His purpose, to see only by degrees),
His response is a dog's to a new scent.
The more he's enlightened, the more dour,
Saddened by the presumption of a flower,
Disillusioned by the barred owl's power --
Endless patience where the field mice cower.
As he stared into a cave for nine years,
Did he presume to think he saw it all,
What is, what isn't, on a granite wall,
That makes a mockery of monks and seers?
Here he's a presence more paper than ink,
All marrow, nothing more, no sense, no think.

Lucien Stryk was one of my writing teachers
at Northern Illinois University. A fine teacher
and poet, he was very influential in
bringing Zen poetry to the United States 
through his translations and interviews. He
was a good friend and mentor.

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