Thursday, June 22, 2017

Dao De Jing 15

Dao De Jing 15

The ancient & skillful sages, subtle, mysterious, profound, were too deep to be fathomed. Because men could not fathom them, it’s best to describe their appearance:
Cautious as men fording a river in winter!
Trembling with fear at what surrounded them!
Grave & respectful as a guest!
Dispersing like melting ice!
Simple as uncarved wood!
Empty as a gorge!
Turbid as muddy water!
Who can turn muddy water gradually clear?
Who being quiescent can stir others to life?
Those who preserve the Way don’t desire fulfillment.
Not desiring fulfillment, they remain concealed & don’t ripen prematurely

Laozi, 道德經
Translation by John Hayes
Unlike with my original poetry & poetry translations, I don’t asset a copyright claim on my translation of the Dao De Jing. It may be freely used under the terms of the Creative Commons license.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
“Depiction of the Daoist immortal Lü Chunyang, also known as Lü Dongbin”: Zhang Lu (1464–1538) – Ink and light colors on gold-flecked paper; album leaf. Ming Dynasty.
Public domain.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Four Octets on the Way to the Solstice


1. Williams Ave Morning

the cartoon bee on the shop sign seems to fly
smiling into white birches, satisfied to

never land—katsura branches reach higher
than 10:30 sun, but its light penetrates

leaf skin on the verge of translucence, veined green
hearts—multi-dimensional curve & swirl of

black plum flattened to silhouette on pale green
fabric of a picnic table umbrella

2. 7th Ave Noon

the Japanese maple’s parasol: spring green
below, maroon up top; white pickup truck

in the driveway matches two calla lilies
by the house, at least in some sense; vanilla,

strawberry, chocolate balloons swirl on that
sandwich board’s ribbon as noon sun emerges

to cast the invisible robin’s shadow,
the one singing from the invisible tree

3. Glisan St Afternoon

near the bus stop the sidewalk’s strewn green with grass
a weed-whacker scattered there; elsewhere sharp black

angles of street signs, the power lines’ scalloped
edges criss-cross concrete; it’s different in

the sky: cotton rags of the cumulus clouds,
the poor at heart at the fringe of the high blue—

bamboo stands up in galvanized tubs above
barbed wire strands into irresistible light

4. Mississippi Ave Evening

at Beech St the sun has dropped below that brick
building, just the magnolia’s top boughs glow;

half a block north, white light halo envelopes
the ash tree,  blinding inflorescence of rays

intersects power lines; bus stop sign bends its
half-circle shadow up a plate glass door; my

shadow stretches past golden bamboo east to
the red metal bench where I saw us talking

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Crépuscule Sans Laisse

Some beautiful music for your day of endless twilight from Esmerine. Enjoy!

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
"Midsommar" ("Midsummer"): EvaBonnier; 1900 – oil on canvas.
Public domain

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bright Moments

It’s Sunday—& that means more Rahsaan Roland Kirk!

I don’t tend to think in terms of “favorites” when it comes to creative work—no “favorite” poet, musician, song, poem, etc. What speaks most directly to me at one point in my life is bound to change as time passes &, with that passage of time, my consciousness changes. But having said that, today’s song means a great deal to me & has for many years. I first heard it played at the Vermont Jazz Festival in the 1970s, a dark time in my life, a time very much in need of “bright moments”—there’s something about this music that speaks to me on the deepest level.

This performance is from Kirk’s Bright Moments album, recorded live at San Francisco’s Keystone Korner & released on the Atlantic label in 1973. Indeed, the record is a great introduction to Kirk’s music, as it covers a wide array of styles—from the transcedent post-bop flute playing of the title track to his tenor sax take on Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug Waltz”, & a whole lot of greatness in between.


Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
"Roland Kirk at Ronnie Scott's Club" by Del de la Haye (Flickr name:del) who makes it available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Four Views of Arbor Lodge


1. Bus Stop

wisteria trailing from a galvanized
trellis quivers purple & green in drizzle

2. Construction Site

mourning dove perched on the cyclone fence cocks its
head toward stratus clouds gray as its feathers

3. Parking Strip

kale sprouts green & purple inside chicken wire,
the raised bed's earth black as the driveway puddle

4. Playground

yellow toy bulldozer sunk in sandbox mud;
wet tennis court transformed to green glass mirror

Jack Hayes
© 2017

Dao De Jing 14

Dao De Jing 14

Look at it, do not see, give the name beyond form;
Listen to it, do not hear, give the name beyond speech;
Seize it, don’t obtain it, give the name abstruse.

Looked at, it’s not seen & is named formless;
Listened to, it’s not heard & is named beyond speech;
Seized, it’s not grasped & is named abstruse.
These three qualities aren’t possible to investigate, so we mix them together to create the One.
Above it there’s no light & below it there’s no darkness.
Beyond measure, it has no name, & it returns again & again to nothingness.
It is named form without form, image without image, indistinct & dim.
Meeting it, there is no front; following it, there is no rear.
Follow the ancient Way & you can master the present.
To know the ancient beginning is to pick up the thread of the Way.

Laozi, 道德經
Translation by John Hayes
Unlike with my original poetry & poetry translations, I don’t asset a copyright claim on my translation of the Dao De Jing. It may be freely used under the terms of the Creative Commons license.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Wu Tang Cliffside Temple
Date    photo taken 1994 by Wiki User Fire Star [empty link on Wiki Commons].
This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Fire Star at the English Wikipedia project. This applies worldwide.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sleeping & Waking Octet

                        for Sandy

dried blush roses kept in a nightstand vase, blue
& white quilted bedspread, windows sloped to catch

the moon’s reflection of the white rose blooming
by the porch where the cat shuts its lunar eyes,

where bamboo chimes lend night a tongue; the alarm
clock’s chimes, aluminum birds singing in a

breeze, the one spinning holographs into flesh
here at the intersection of dreams & hands

Jack Hayes
© 2017