time forgets to tick

New Years Day, 2016 – according to the calendar. Three micro-poems which might or might not be haiku. I offer them as they landed. The first one is a selfie and makes me chuckle. The last – well, if you’ve experienced an Australian morning you’ll know about the predawn antics of the rowdy kookaburras… In between, a quiet reflection on – how it is.

 

Gerrit Dou: Old Woman with a Jug at Window

 

xliv

the caged bird long flown

an old woman waters flowers

time forgets to tick

 

xlv

abandoned at last

by meaning and purpose

I sit with my tea

 

xlvi

3am – seems they know

it’s the dawn of a New Year

kookabloodyburras

 


Image: Gerrit Dou, Old Woman with a Jug at Window, c 1660 – 1665
Oil on Panel, 28.3 x 22.8
Kunsthistoriches Museum, Vienna


 

oh how I love being so deluded

 

Andrew Wyeth: Wind from the Sea, detail

 

I was asked to find my mind

and

I failed

I was asked to find my thoughts

and

I failed

I was asked to find my self

and

I failed

 

So then it seemed timely to try to find

the I

that was so successful at failing

 

ha!

it couldn’t be found

yet

it can’t be escaped

 

oh how I love being so deluded

that simply watching words leak out of a pen

can deliver shameless delight!

 


Image: Andrew Wyeth – Wind from the Sea
Tempera on hardboard, 1947, detail
[What moves – the curtain or the wind?]
Source: Washington Post


All writing on this blog leaks from the pen of Miriam Louisa Simons.  Over at my other blog this unlit light, you’ll find more of a smorgasbord of writing, including some of my own.
I chose this WordPress theme for its uncluttered minimalism, and because it’s responsive (i.e., it displays readably on all devices).  All the links that normally appear in a sidebar or footer are hidden behind the menu icon at the top of the page.  If you feel inclined to explore the offerings posted here since 2010, please click that icon.  You’ll also find a way to follow this blog by email there.  I promise you won’t be overwhelmed – emptiness has erratic and unpredictable habits.  Posts turn up.  I marvel.

– mls
Copyright © Emptiness


if

nothing

comes

next

 

Utagawa Kuniyoshi: Hotei

 

best keep an eye out for it!

 


Image: Painting of Hotei by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

Hotei is one of Japan’s seven lucky gods. Officially he’s the God of Contentment and Happiness; in the West he’s known as the Laughing Buddha.

He carries a large cloth bag over his back, one that never empties, for he uses it to feed the poor and needy. It includes an inexhaustible cache of treasures, including food and drink. Indeed, the Japanese spelling of “Hotei” literally means “cloth bag.” He also holds a Chinese fan called an oogi  (said to be a “wish giving” fan — in the distant past, this type of fan was used by the aristocracy to indicate to vassals that their requests would be granted). Hotei is most likely based on the itinerant 10th-century Chinese Buddhist monk and hermit Budaishi (d. 917), who is said to be an incarnation of Miroku Bodhisattva (Maitreya in Sanskrit).

More information here.


 

three spring haiku

Unknown painter: Sparrows singing their hearts out

 

xli

heavy spring showers

my sleeves wet with the world’s tears

how sweet the birdsong!

 

xlii

everything happens

they say it’s ‘for a reason’

I say stop right there

 

xliii

here’s a great secret:

all does not have to be well

to be perfection

 


Ink painting, artist unknown. I suspected Ohara Koson but fail to find attribution.
Let me know if you can read the chop and solve the mystery.


sunyata in shoes

Three September haiku. It’s been quite a month: planets going backwards, the occurrence of the spring equinox (in Australia), and multiple eclipses of the moon… Moon business always seems to open a little gate here and the three-liners tumble through, fully formed. Wondrous!

 

Painting by Duy Huynh http://www.duyhuynh.com/artwork/selected-archives/

 

XXXVIII

sunyata in shoes

befriended by light and flight

she moves as the wind

 

XXXIX

faith and trust and grace

you only find their presence

when you disappear

 

XL

on this year’s soulstice

something in me swelled and surged

the tide has turned

 


Painting  by Duy Huynh


Śūnyatā – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Śūnyatā


being . just being . here

 

Vija Celmins - House 2, 1965

Like the moment you too saw, for the first time,
your own house turned to ashes,
Everything consumed so the road could open again.
– David Whyte

My landlady has notified me that the cabin I call home is needed for family use. Once again I’m packing cartons for a move. But. Where to go?

It’s so strange – the old ideas about what the ML character needed in a dwelling (privacy, tranquillity, beauty, light, workspace, car-cover, community of like-minded souls…) are dropping away during this hesitant recovery from recent surgery. There was no rush to the rebound. BP was happy to stay flat. Slipping away would have been easy; no resistance arose…

But it didn’t happen, and tonight I sit here with the dusk chorus swelling in this vast audial auditorium. Soon the bats will arouse from their upside-down day pose and head east towards their nocturnal feeding-fields. The upswelling of delight is delicious as I relax into the unedited immediacy of Being. Just Being. Here.

There is no longer a wanter-woman here. This, I confess, is the most remarkable thing I can say about my current experience of life. The wanter-woman was so central – and so subtle. She turned up as a host of identities – even trying on the ‘no-wanter’ mask for a while. Whatever saw through all the masks remains a mystery, but I can say with confidence that it’s not another object of any kind.

The contentment and joy known tonight weren’t “wanted”. What I mean is, my particular “wanting” wasn’t consciously motivated by desire to escape from the usual melange of human emotions; nor was I seeking salvation, or freedom from fear. I just needed to know whether the sages were being honest when they spoke of the existence of something changeless, immeasurable, real.

As a child I’d known this ineffable ‘something’ intimately – What was that? Why had it seemed to fade as I grew up? What did it have to do with creativity, harmony, beauty? My lifepath organised itself around these concerns; the wanter-woman was an effective vehicle for the journey … until eventually she was understood to be the root of the problem!

It was seemingly by default that contentment and joy bubbled up in the space being vacated by the wanter-woman’s residual repertoire. (Yes – that’s how it moves here: the wanter-woman was seen for the phantom she was and took off. However she left behind a heap of junk, sneakily stashed away as old patterns forged over a lifetime. One by one they percolate up to be acknowledged, welcomed, loved, and sometimes put to new service.)

Being. Just being. Here. What more could be wanted than the capacity to hear the sweet canoodling of the Rosellas as they settle for the night? Or the croaks of the frogs as they gear up for their mating games? The capacity to sense the air become cooler – my skin alive to its breath; to inhale the fragrance of Jasmine, Petunia and Bauhinia blossoms; to view the darkening world as it exhales, its succulent rainforest forms and colors transforming into a deep-toned two-dimensional dreamlike display? And further, deeper, wider, to experience the impossibility of separation from any of this display – the knowing that The Knowing is all there is?

Capacity! Life’s extraordinary gift, so miraculously ours by default – and unarguably known and experienced to be none other than the inescapable Real, even as one’s BP flattens and the nurses’ eyes narrow.

What more could be wanted than what is already here, and has always been here so long as we’ve been alive – yet taken for granted, overlooked as we search for some awesome ‘Real Deal’ with bells and whistles?

I don’t know why Life returned my BP to normal then gave me a fortnight’s horizontal retreat to wonder why it would want to do that, when the old girl was happy to fade out, to return to sender. What I do know is that my gratitude is beyond words.

Perhaps, after all our speculations die down, that’s all Life ever wants – to hear itself sing its praises to itself.

No brims nor borders such as in a bowl
we see. My essence was Capacitie
– Thomas Traherne, 1634 – 1677

If you know of a humble abode, temporary or permanent, where ML can keep practicing her praising – both verbal and visual – please make contact.

*smiling and bowing*


Image: Vija Celmins House 2, 1965

David Whyte quote: from the poem Fire in the Earth


 

blessed are those who know nothing for certain

 

Bill Viola - Firewoman, 2005

 

blessed are those who know nothing for certain,
whose curiosity keeps them beyond the claws of conclusion,
who seek as an impulse of wonderment rather than for gain,
who question everything the pundits proclaim as truth;

whose questions deliver them, willingly or not,
to the fiery face of the Unnameable, and
who find the courage to keep a “yes” alive in spite of terror;
who come back speechless and trembling with gratitude

blessed are those for whom the encounter enlivens a capacity
and a willingness to hold both hands out to the world
(one to hold grief, the other, gratefulness)
for their heart knows the two as one;

who, without choice, stand naked in knowingness;
whose fulfilment is refreshed with every breath;
who are quietly content (which is not to say inert or passive)
in spite of all that life appears to heave at them

blessed are those who know these contented ones,
who count them among their friends and neighbours,
who seek them out for their simple wisdom, knowing
they have nothing to spin or sell – nothing to bestow
other than their crazy head-shaking heart-healing joy:

innocent – ingenious – immanent

 


Image: Bill ViolaFirewoman, 2005. Detail from video/sound installation.