Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Getaway Package


Young Woman Playing with a Dog: Jean-Honoré Fragonard, 1765-72 (Fondation Cailleux, Paris)

The long vacation turns into a way of life
The nervous beauties of the seasons amble
Precisely past like flamingos or mannequins
Commissioned by the gods to keep the view
Ever various in its several lights
To edify just this one tender watcher
Who smiles at them as she adjusts the picture
Observe how seemingly radical the way
They’ve modified their old rude manners
The way in which when she inspires their mirth
It almost looks as if they’re falling over
Each other in an absurd effort to please her
As though whether or not it’s in her interest
They’d do anything to keep her here



Tom Raworth said...

Hmm..... how WILL that big "dog" squeeze through that tiny "ring".... and with a bison looking over the pillow....?

Daigendog said...

Everything passes through but the tail. Why is that?

TC/BTP said...

A potent new Tolkien saga sequel: The Girl of the Rings and the Click-to-Enlarge Peeping Bison Hidden in the Arras?

But Daigendog's question, like most Things Deep, remains unanswerable... on this I must consult my Zen Master, down the block.

tc/btp said...

As promised, BTP has consulted his Zen Master up the block on the worried issue of the Bison, the Bison's Tail, the Girl and the Ring. Two parabolic lessons offer Enlightenment:

1. The Hidden Bison

Master Po-chang Huai-hai (720-814 CE) was asked by a monk,
"What is the Buddha Nature?"

Master Po-chang answered,
"It is like seeking for the bison hidden in the arras behind the bed of a beautiful girl while you are yourself hidden in the arras."

The monk asked, "What use does knowing the bison serve?"

Master Po-chang answered,
"It is like going home riding on the bison, and just as you reach your gate, falling off, hitting your head, knocking yourself out, and afterwards waking up believing you have not been peeping in places where you shouldn't, but have been been riding on a bison".

2. Case 38: A Bison Passes Through a Girl's Ring

Wuzu Fayan said, "For example, it’s just like a bison passing through a ring in the hand of a beautiful girl. Its head, horns, and four legs have passed through. Why is it that its tail can’t pass through?"

Wumon’s Commentary:

If in regard to this you are able to turn yourself upside down, attain one single eye, and utter a turning word, you will be able to repay the four obligations above and help the living beings of the three realms below. If you are still unable to do this, reflect again on the tail; then you will be able to grasp it for the first time. NB. Never in any circumstance look at the girl.

Tom Raworth said...

Sorry folk.... I meant "basin"..but "Arras" flicked me back to Isaac Rosenberg who is buried near there, killed on April Fools' Day. Though "tanks" and "stalls" were the echoes.
Thanks, Tom: the Naropoid Years were not wasted...


Tom Raworth said...

..... though "bison" is more visible in the click-through version.....

Zephirine said...

Though I would never demean this fine blog with the expression LOL, I have to say that the thoughts of the learned Masters just made me Laugh Out Loud... I like to think there was a Zen, or at least bisonic, aspect to my laughter.

tc/btp said...

case 38: "bison" leaps through the girl's "ring"

Viking Dog said...

You are very fortunate to have a zen master in close proximity! I have to take the bus to the county seat 40 minutes away to consult my zen man. By reflecting on your post I too have attained one single eye-ness. I like it!

By the way, my zen man Wayne "Smokestack Lightnin'" Fukada agrees with everything you've said here.

Single Eye said...

Everything is everything in Single Eyeness.

But then there’s that tail.

Everything passes through the ring but the tail. What’s that about?

Zen teachers dealing with various problems often do not want to talk about bison tales. Turns out, there’s a quite lot of libido stuck in the tail in the Zen world. Perhaps you’ve noticed. And in the not too distant past.

Zen practitioners, whether masters or beginners, are all cut from the same cloth. We all have the possibility of being the bison passing through the ring. And many of us do. Actually in the truest sense, all of us already have – from before the creation of the planets and stars. This is the boundless. This is the awakening. This is the way of the bison's tail coming to be itself.

And there is always the water bucket some inattentive person has left in the path. And the bison always trips over it. But gets up to begin again.

And at the end of the bison is located the tail.

And this is where we come to the heart of that tall tale of the tail of the bison.

And the tail is very much the heart of this tale. The head, the horns, all four legs pass through the ring. But the tail is left.

This tail is nothing else than the formless form of Reality.

The truth of Reality is that it is more or less real in different ways at different moments.

And most of our beginning bison work, how we take up a question like Mu or what is the sound of the single hand? or what time was it before your parents were born? or what is your original face? are all about how we encounter the fundamental point, the bison passing through the ring.

And then we’re confronted with that tail and what it means. After awakening we’re confronted with our anger or grasping and what it means. We spin and spin and step on our own tails and find that after all are are not awakened.

But let’s look at it the ring as the gate, as the window of opportunity for awakening.

Looking into your own bison heart and mind, what is it that is holding you back? What keeps you from jumping up and being open? You don’t have to dig very far to know. Something presents, then just look below that. It isn’t very meta; it isn’t very far away from what you do over and over and over again.

Now take that, that tail of the bison, and make that your tale.

What is this? Is this the tail?

Why am I this? Why is this the tail?

Is this really me? Am I the tail?

Spin, spin, spin. Keep looking. Keep asking is it this? Is it this? Here’s something stringy and furry. Does it move around? ? It feels kind of floppy. Can you wiggle it?

And let me tell you, own this fully, and the tail will wag the bison. You will jump through the ring as easily as the bison’s ancestor jumped the water bucket.

Get it?

Perhaps there are some questions.

Tom Raworth said...

Sorry to be TWICE off-message, but I'd thought Daigendog's "tail" was mere shorthand for "piece of tail": and thus the answer obvious. Or is this the sound of one dog crapping?

Anonymous said...

Gee, that sure is a pretty picture of a cute gal feeding skinny doughnuts to a doggie.

I've got a picture of dogs playing poker. Maybe they're by the same guy, whatsisname...Frank Gonad?

Daigendog said...

The question remains: 'Why is it that the tail can't pass through?"

An old master said;

First I went out after the fresh green grass

Then I returned, pursuing the falling blossoms.

Tom Raworth said...

The tail of the past is endless and each now adds to it, little glasshopper (Zen-noh)

Canary said...

Just came across your
Where are you? Have you finished...