For a variety of reasons it seems that artists of all types are drawn to the practice of Zen. For this installment, I asked four other artists from the Vista Zen Center to join me in providing a pairing of poetry and visual images. Each combination is very different from the others but each reflects the committed practice of the artist. I hope you take the time to savor each of these pairings.
We begin with the work of Jiyu Roshi, who is the founder and teacher at The Vista Zen Center. His digital paintings may be seen at his website.
The Way is not difficult
for those who do not pick and choose.
The Way is not difficult
for those who do pick and choose.
When you walk the Way,
just walk the Way.
It is not near,
it is not far.
It just is.
Just do not get in the way
of the Way.
Or, Just get in the way
of the Way.
Either way Is the Way.
Either way is.
I think I’ll go away
David Clark’s blogsite “FromThe Lone Oak” is a wonderful showcase of his poetry, often accompanied by visual images. The image below was created by David on his I Pad.
Unattended and without effort,
The Earth spins on,
Endlessly describing an arc
Around a star
That never blinks.
Rain, without urging,
Always finds its way
Back to the sea.
Jane Mushinsky teaches literature at Mira Costa College and has contributed poems for various publications and poetry readings. She recently returned from Kenyon Ohio where she had won a spot at the Kenyon Review Summer Poetry Workshop.
this body i borrowed
eats mostly scraps
to keep it neat
i fold it in half, in thirds,
a suit i’m packing for a trip.
this body—not mine per se,
a loaner, the keys on their hook
also not mine—dutifully i wash and wax it,
feeling always the edges fraying,
the delicate etching of rain.
sometimes i look in a train’s window
an unruffled pond or plate glass
adjacent a sidewalk, and see—
not I as such, but this body
going about its business, respiring,
contracting and expanding—
an illusion, I; a conspiracy
the body and the thoughts construct
to feel, perhaps, less lonely,
disparate unmusical spheres.
poor body, a show dog easily lead;
poor mind, banging away in its cell—
no wonder they cling to each other
having nothing in common.
Jon Wesick works as an engineer but spends a great deal of time, writing, reading and publishing his poems. More of Jon’s work can be read at:
Zen and the Art of Nuclear Structure Physics
The 1p3/2 proton sat in the zendo
of the copper nucleus.
Back straight, eyes downcast,
he stilled his mind to concentrate
on the Absolute and relative.
As the temple bell struck
a passing alpha particle excited
the entire nucleus into a collective,
The proton burst into Master Neutron’s study.
“I have experienced Oneness!
I now know the Way is like a liquid drop
in which we all move together.”
“Fool!” Master Neutron struck the proton with his staff
sending him into an excited single-particle state.
Nanoseconds later the proton returned to consciousness
looking pale after emitting a gamma ray.
“Your training is to see both Oneness and manyness,”
Master Neutron said. “Recite the Sandokai
and the papers of V.M. Strutinsky until you understand.”
Steve Wilson is primarily a visual artist whose work may be seen in the Painting Gallery of this blog site.
Where Do We Come From? Where Do We Go?
Seven Billion of us now
Where do we come from?
Where do we go?
This painting appeared on my canvas one day,
claiming to be a visual answer to these questions.
Maybe it is, but, I can’t put it into words.
I don’t even know how to tell you
where the painting came from.
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