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Friday, 21 June 2013

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore: Cancer


The Great Bell of Chion-in Temple, Kyoto. Description from historic lecture booklet: "You are in the eastern outskirts of Kyoto; the city proper lies behind you to the west. The trees you see between the great beams of the bell tower belong to the temple-garden or park -- all Japanese temples have gardens, large or small as the case may be, in which their various buildings are grouped. This bell-tower is separate from the other buildings. It was erected almost three hundred years ago (1613) for a Buddhist monastery up here on the eastern hill. The giant bell of bronze is 108 feet high and weighs nearly 148,000 pounds; the priests ring it by striking it from the outside with a heavy beam of wood. The beam itself hangs from above by a rope and is pulled to one side, its end striking the great metal flower as it swings back. There is something marvelous and almost indescribable about the sound that rings out through the air. It fills all the space with its sonorous vibrations, deep in tone as the bass of a big church organ and mellow as golden sunshine. Even the most indifferent tourist is impressed by it.The sound lingers, and lingers, and lingers in the air -- if you stand quite near, say as near as those women by the railing, you can distinguish a low musical hum five minutes after the bell was struck": photographer unknown, c. 1915 (Oregon State University Special Collections)

Cancer creeps in on little cat’s feet

Cancer grows from the root upward

Cancer as a fact is a hard fact to grasp

Cancer wears no mask but hides in
private places

Cancer greedily drinks at the oasis meant for
healthy beasts and weary travelers

Cancer’s dark generosity knows no bounds

Cancer is that thing that once planted
can’t easily be got rid of except through
foreclosure or death

Cancer rides death’s black horse
but should be walking beside it

When cancer appears everything changes
as if death were drawing nearer
when it’s God drawing nearer

Cancer is a sown field full of
tares and rocks trying to

flourish at the farmer’s expense

Somehow there’s no sky above cancer
but only the closeness of a closed room
and a small expandable exit

that could become the sky

Cancer thinks its attitude is
our attitude but it
won’t get away with it

Cancer is a man in a blue blazer
waiting at the corner for a
man in a black trench coat but
when they meet the man in blue will
blaze and open up into a
night full of stars

Cancer clings like a monkey
sings like a drunken sailor
rings like a giant bronze bell
in the Pure Land of the Buddha

Cancer is the clearest indicator of
Who is in charge
that He might wipe it away
little by little

until we are clean again

or as never before

June 2012

Black Horse: North Road: photo by Isabelle Ann, 22 April 2010
Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore: Cancer, from Ecstatic Exchange: Poetry of Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore, 27 August 2012


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Fine, fine poem - I hear that Pure Land bell ringing ...


TC said...

Beloved friend and wise poet colleague Don, I ought to tell you that in posting this great poem of Daniel's I had sensed, or perhaps the word should be hoped, that it might prove of use in some way (spiritually I guess I mean), to a certain few particularly deserving souls -- and your name was probably right up at the top of that short list.

And whaddaya know, Dan and Don share (almost) the same name, and dwell (most definitely) in the same state of what used to be called the Union. Though really, these nights it seems there are so many states out there, or in here, and we all dwell in all or some or none of them all or some (but hopefully not none) of the time, that, in the end, anymore, Quien sabe?

Wooden Boy said...

Good to hear these things spoken clearly, out from the body.

TC said...

Thanks very much for the good words, Duncan.

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

Ah, dear Tom of yore and now, especially now... Nice surprise to see this poem reposted on a peer's site... with all gratitude. This from a series of treatment poems, with attendant drawings, all called "Down at the Deep End," where I think you've been in your time. This site is so rich, you're cashing in on richness abounding... and abiding. That bell photo (ah those old National Geographic hand-tinted photos!) such a visual gong. All thanks.

TC said...

And thanks to you, Daniel, old friend, for this very powerful poem.

Not a bad gong they had there. Looks like holding it up took the long work of a small (at least) forest.

With support like that, a poem like this one should do a lot of vibrating -- "a low musical hum five minutes after the bell was struck".


fine poem thank you

lowenkopf said...

Abdal-Hayy, good to see you've still got your groove. Fond regards.

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

Now, Tom, I just now thought to ask you if you'd contribute any prose (or poem) remembrance you might have of a Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company performance... I am gathering materials to publish a book of the texts, photos and "eyewitness reports," making allowances, of course, for any vibrational offshoots that might have taken place in the pineals. My email appears on my Daniel Moore Poetry archive site or Ecstatic Exchange poetry blog. Any words appreciated...

Marie W said...

Creeps, grows, wears, drinks, rides, clings. Too hard to tame such a wild thing inside a human body. Such a heavy package to carry around every day. Out from the body, I agree, words can do that.



"It fills all the space with its sonorous vibrations . . . a low musical hum five minutes after the bell was struck"


grey whiteness of fog against invisible
ridge, blue jay on pine branch in right
foreground, no sound of wave in channel

that same three-dimensional
space, shift of lines

follows system of equations,
left side, as follows

blinding edge of sun rising above ridge,
cloudless blue sky to the left of point

TC said...

More than a bit under the weather here at the moment (persistent horror flu plus surprising summer rainstorm), but the memories take shape somewhat as this: Daniel Moore's Floating Lotus Magic Opera, c. April 1968, charming group of c. 12-15 young people in large front room, north Berkeley craftsman house, unusual and bizarre musical instruments, modal decentering swirl, Artaudian-theatrical/shamanic chanting, general participation mystique, intense vibrational presence, exquisite disarming epiphany of moment, free for all and all for free, that's how I remember it -- how can we have made it all the way from then and there to here and now?

Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore said...

Wonderful, Tom. Thanks. Feel better... the rain in Arabic is the same word as "mercy." May it shower on you in all ways.