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Tuesday 22 March 2011



The Three Wise Monkeys in the Monkey Sculpture ("Mizaru/ Hear no evil, Kikazaru/ speak no evil, Iwazaru/ see no evil")
, Nikko Toshogu Shinto shrine, Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan: photo by rangaku1976, 2008

The monk asked Fuketsu, "Speaking and silence belong to the absolute and the relative worlds; how can we escape both these errors?"

Fuketsu said,

"I always think of Kónan in March;

Partridges chirp among the scented blossoms."

Crested Wood Partridge (Rollulus rouloul), male
: photo by Michelle Tribe, 2008

Reginald Horace Blyth: Zen (excerpt) in Haiku: Volume I: Eastern Culture, 1947


Anonymous said...

what a beautiful bird...I have never seen it...! "scented blossoms in Kónan..." I pray for that



Speaking and silence

Partridges chirp among the scented blossoms


shadowed shape of cloud in pale blue sky
above ridge, sparrow calling from branch
in foreground, waves sounding in channel

in line of descent from one
more, version of same

places of sound in thinking,
still to notice, what

white of cloud above shoulder of ridge,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit

TC said...

Partridges are generally modest in their plumage, though of course to other partridges it probably doesn't seem that way.

But this one is a real beauty.

What can we do but pray and hope for something good on the wind for Japan (and everyone).

Anonymous said...

Very beautiful and helpful this morning. Thank you. This entire situation (Japan and Libya) seems like an event of suspended animation, which seems like a petty and irrelevant complaint on my part.

Anonymous said...

I like the contrast of black feathers that I imagine very bright and the red tuft...

TC said...

Curtis, know what you mean about the suspended animation.

Meanwhile, on the ornithological front...

Someone here speculated at first that the bright red shape directly above the red tuft of the partridge is a fuchsia blossom.

I contended that it is in fact the foot of another partridge.

A shy partridge, shrinking from view and half-concealed beneath a leaf.

And where then is the second foot? it was sensibly countered.

Anonymous said...

two dilemmas...!

Julia said...

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree here with Someone.
But the good thing is that I completely agree with you, Tom. And I can see the second foot slightly behind the first one (is very out of focus, but there it is).
A beautiful bird and a beautiful post as usual.

Anonymous said...

I do not post to disagree just to say what I think

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that's a one-legged partridge hiding in the background. I can see part of its beak.

Ed Baker said...

I agree with "someone"
it IS "a fuchsia blossom"

when you get to be my age
you can certainly tell
blood-red chicken leg
from an

fuchsia blossom !

where's the "pear tree"?

where is


Anonymous said...


Phanero Noemikon said...

does seem to have a bit of a neural resonance

and that kind of semiological recapitulation which returns itself
to wonder

where the banal
is disturbed by beauty
and beauty by the banal

and where the distribution
of disturbances

leads an other essence
to stir

what timidness
is there in the sculpting
of a chirp?

a chirp is like a cannon
whose every molecule
is both a sigh
and a flowering

an approach
which returns


Tom and Someone,

Perhaps we could say it's a particularly beautiful fuchsia-colored left (or maybe right?) foot. . . .


light coming into cloud against shadowed
green ridge, sparrow calling from branch
in foreground, waves sounding in channel

sense of past elsewhere, is
particular in traces

to experience, picture each
occasion, only it is

grey white clouds to the left of point,
silver of drops splashing into channel

TC said...

Brilliant comments all. I am considering obtaining a red tufted crest.

Every viewpoint expressed so far has its merits.

Someone, however, who has latterly been exposed to this further evidence, is now convinced that
the red splash in the background is the foot of a female Crested Wood Partridge, perching comfortably on one leg (as, in the video evidence attached to the above, one of these clever birds is seen to do).

Perhaps that might be described as the "stand and wait" posture.

aditya said...

Great post. To talk of the relative worlds, birds are an excellent company to keep.

TC said...

Yes, though it may be our company sometimes seems less than excellent to them -- things being relative, that is.