A Truth You May Have Forgotten

There is a moment before the sound the Great Om,
Before Siva turned on one foot
Before Krishna was blue and Tara green,
Before the making of Lucifer, the heavenly war
The gravity of heaven and the drifting fire of hell
Before the holy breath blew into Man
Before Adam’s dream of Eve
Before Cain lost his mind and the daughters of Cain
And the flood, before an angel spoke to Hagar
And Moses saw a home of honey, fire and blood

Before David hurled a stone
Before Isaiah spoke a word
Before Buddha under the Bodhi-tree

The slaughter of the innocent
The cry of the desert in a voice crying in the desert
Before the sorrow of Mary
Before a nail cut the hand of the Anointed
Before the wonder of Magdalene at the tomb
Before tongues of fire
Before the first stone struck Stephen
Before stigmata in Assisi
Before Allah save infant girls
In a message of mercy from Mohammed
Before Gandhi felt the heat of a gun
And the death of Martin gave an undying dream

There is a moment
Without motion
Before the memory of time

Offered like sunlight filtered through trees falls at your feet
It is like sound
Or light surrounding the body
A lilting melody of light
Before evil or good were ideas, that when you hear
Clears the past of pain
Reconciles history to love
And the One you felt did not exist
Is with you saying
“I have always loved you and always will.”
It is the still point at the center,
That moment you truly are, that moment is now

 

Duck

Solitude

What begins from the first day?
The world goes slowly white,
Not black and white: black
Is all colors, but white is empty.
Even the greatest go, they
Cannot change or come back–
In Japan they do not wear black
When someone dies, but white.
The greatest stand alone to sing
The time, a poem, their life, a fact.

 

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Cover Photo images by Rayn Roberts

The Wave & The Wind

Rikuzentakata Ôfunato Kuji swept away

No trace they were ever there
Otsuchi Miyako Yamada
Sôma Namie Minamisôma Onagawa
Kesennuma Natori Ishinomaki gone,
The earth gave and the sea
Has taken away Banda Ache
Two hundred thirty thousand
Gone in the Indian Ocean wave.

I am thinking of Phuket on Boxing Day

The waters receding so fast
Fish were left flapping on the sand,
The boy drawn by hunger
Or a child’s fascination
Not knowing the danger
Walking out to catch a few–
Then the immense water-wall moving
He turns, runs–  is gone.

Some say the Lord taketh

But where were healing Jesus
Allah the Merciful
When countless cries went up,
Where were the thousand hands
Of listening Kannon,
in paradise where she was
Blissful in her Pure Land as if
Tsunami’s never happen?
Do the dead hear the whispered calls

On the kaze-no-denwa wind phone?

 

Rayn Roberts 2017

Kaze no Denwa, The Wind Phone

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How Mind Moves

The splash of water on rocks

at the high end

vibrations move, ripple the surface
but not the sweet calm
a center of lotus and lily pads
like a quiet deep of sea —
But water arrives by many ways
to be a pond: fed by mountain-top rain
seeping to a circle of stone
where deer drink
turtles sun and dream white and gold
orange and black koi
rising and falling like ideas
frogs in a daze
noon only a notion here, and slowly
at low end, the water flows out
mind twisting through pines
senses thought concept reason time
enter the high end noisy waves

leave the low, fulfillment

running to the sea

cropped-cropped-dsc0045111 Photo by Tom Gable Nature Photographer

Poets & Writers

The Ears of Seongjin Castle

In the last light of March, under cherry trees as large as the oak
Near the tomb of those lost
in the battle of Seongjin Castle, yet another tale
of the cruelty and kindness of men…

The Japanese hacked off the noses and ears of the dead
took them home, proof a battle won, souvenirs of a war.
The Koreans buried fathers and sons in a common grave and mourned.

Years later, a Buddhist monk went to Japan
Pleaded for the return of the remains–
Ten thousand ears heard him, ten thousand eyes saw him
On Heart of Love opened, Om Mani Padme Hum–

Japan relented and gave them back–
Under a large tree, in a snow of blossoms, the story teller, a Korean friend
Looked at me and said, “Only the oldest trees know the sorrow of the blossoms.

 

Rayn Roberts 2002

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Traditionally, Japanese warriors brought back the heads of enemies slain on the battlefield as proof of their deeds. Ear collection in lieu of heads became a feature of the second Korean invasion.[4]:p. 195 [10] Remuneration was paid to soldiers by their daimyō commanders based on the severed heads upon submission to collection stations, where inspectors meticulously counted, recorded, salted and packed the noses bound for Japan.[11][12] However, because of the number of civilians killed along with soldiers, and crowded conditions on the ships that transported troops, it was far easier to just bring back ears instead of whole heads.[10]

Japanese chroniclers on the second invading campaign mention that the ears hacked off the faces of the massacred were also of ordinary civilians[13] mostly in the provinces Gyeongsang (where Seongjin Fortress was located)  Jeolla, and Chungcheong.[2]:pp. 475–476 In the second invasion Hideyoshi’s orders were thus:  Mow down everyone universally, without discriminating between young and old, men and women, clergy and the laity—high ranking soldiers on the battlefield, that goes without saying, but also the hill folk, down to the poorest and meanest—and send the heads to Japan.  Many of the ears, noses and heads of the dead are now buried in Kyoto, Japan, but some were returned to Korea.  Mimizuka: Ear Tomb

Kuan Yin /  Avalokiteshvara in Tibetan, is the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion and is said to have ten thousand ears and eyes to hear and watch over the suffering people of the world.   Om Mani Padme Hum is a mantra associated with this Bodhisattva.

옴 마니 반메 훔

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A Kind of Drinking Song

The celebrants of Friday scotch, men of lesser deeds
Spent time like pocket change in endless café-bars
Made noise enough to wake the quick and dead:
There was light drizzle on a cherry blossom way,
The six of us, smashed, but more high on ourselves
As most young men will be when booze is abused,
When Dwight, a good natured poet, began shouting,
“So what’s art from no-Nukes if your Ego-jerking girl
Leaves you for easy game, empty-handed in the café
Street fights in the rain!” (You had to be there.)
Then continued as thunder slammed the sky…

“It’s the leaven of the mind to know for every stance
A different man while pissing on the earth; how best
In these times, to get between the legs of truth and
Have a fucking field day, my friends, especially when
Language, words, speak mostly to nothing new now
And the dull edge of the age digs us all a deeper grave!
But look, the moon falls to fullness, suns round the sky
For no purpose but to burn, wisdom in my mind recalls
A semi-conscious boyhood, and above the mountains
As if to mock my fury, that belt of morning thunder

Makes us all wiser fools…”

We had to carry him two blocks to his place after that.
There seemed some weight in what he said, so I kept it.

 

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Poem by Rayn Roberts– Kyoto, Japan 1982