Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Basho's Monkey Mask Haiku & So-gi's Temple Bell

For my "Monkey Sox" avatar and my dream:^D, two haiku. There is an insightful commentary on these two poems by Hugh Bygott (UK) on the old Shiki Salon haiku forum, in which the use of metaphor in this poem of Basho's is examined:

toshidoshi ya
saru ni kisetaru
saru no men

year after year—
on the monkey's face
a monkey's mask

haiku by Matsuo Bashō
(松尾 芭蕉, Matsuo Bashō, 1644 – 28 November 1694)

kane zo naru
kyo- mo munashiku
sugi ya sen

The temple bell
sounds on another day
empty of insight.

hyakuin by So-gi
So-gi Dokugin Nanibito Hyakuin
"A Hundred Stanzas Related to 'Person' by
So-gi Alone."
Translation by Earl Miner

Makoto Ueda's commentary on Basho's monkey's mask poem may also be found at the University of Oregon's site.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Prayer, A Dream, A Psalm of Prayer

Oh God, heal us!
Teach my spirit to restore
what I have wasted

DW Bender
prayer, March 20, 2008

I had a dream the night before last, in which I was explaining something which I don't now recall to a woman. It was mundane sort of helpful information, as if she were a customer or someone asking directions. She had a pained look on her face. I intuited what she was feeling: that she felt I disliked her. And although it wasn't how I felt at all, I questioned her directly about what her face told me. "Please forgive my bluntness; I don't wish to offend you," I asked, "but by your expression, I sense you feel that I dislike you in some way?" She responded yes, that was indeed what she was feeling, by the way I was talking to her. I apologized and thanked her for her honesty, saying that this was not the first time I had experienced that kind of reaction to the way I spoke and presented myself, recently, and that I should examine myself to see how I could say and do things differently. I felt deeply sad and embarassed, and woke up immediately.

I'm sure I had this dream in relation to a waking-life mundane online exchange on information about the use of a foodstuff as an appetite control tool, which became misunderstood and strained, which I quickly bowed out of, so as not to make it worse, email being too a limited tool for conversation and expression. In a related sense, I think both women in the dream represented aspects of my personality, and the opportunity to examine, change, grow.

Below are copied gracious words to live by, today and always. It expresses a heart-prayer which has been mine for many years, to be real, to be authentic (and another is to be blessed and made a blessing) but now, have found it put into actual words, today in a modern but timeless psalm written by Joseph Bayly:


Lord of Reality
make me real
not plastic
pretend, phony
an actor playing out his part
I don't want to keep a prayer list
but to pray
nor agonize to to find Your will
but to obey
what I already know
to argue
theories of inspiration
but submit to Your word.
I don't want
to explain the difference
between eros and pilos
and agape
but to love.
I don't want
to sing as if I mean it
I want to mean it.
I don't want
to tell it like it is,
but to be it
like You want it.
I don't want
to think another needs me
but I need him
else I'm not complete.
I don't want
to tell others how to do it
but to do it
to have to be always right
but to admit it when I'm wrong.
I don't want to be a census taker
but an obstetrician
nor an involved person, a professional
but a friend.
I don't want to be insensitive
but to hurt where other people hurt
nor to say I know how you feel
but to say God knows
and I'll try
if you'll be patient with me
and meanwhile I'll be quiet.
I don't want to scorn the cliches of others
but to mean everything I say
including this.

from Psalms of My Life, Joseph Bayly
Tyndale Treasures, copyright 1969
found at Barry Blog - designsmith

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Two Untitled Tanka (One collaborative)

seeing again
the beauty of tear drops
against dew drops
the mosses, catching them,
reveal a universe

untitled tanka
Susumu Takiguchi, UK: /st
DW Bender, USA: /db
January 4-5, 2007

without announcement
a spell of winter rain falls
into loneliness...
how my feet keep on slipping
over clouds dropped by the sky

DW Bender
Janauary 18, 2007
untitled tanka

Friday, March 14, 2008

Force of Gravity (tanka, 2001)

deceptively still,
far suns of night burn
in silence,
drawn away as I am
by force of gravity

DW Bender
unpublished tanka, May 8, 2001

Sorry, I've been busy with some other things, and have not been visiting my poetry blog for a little while...I do need to answer your kind comments, friends, readers. Soon.

A couple months ago, I discovered a wonderful artist/photographer, Donald Cecil, aka Don Cecil who posts many of his creations on Flickr. I am blown away and transported by the awesome wonder of his work, which call forth the language of dream, imagination, childhood... . I hope he will one day publish some of these in books. I can't begin to describe what kind of profound and stong feelings and yearnings (related to childhood and creativity) the images he creates bring up in me:

Visit all of them, but especially see, these Sets:

Kid Years

New Story

Cancer Time

50 Years