Almost Composed

Meditation and curiosity

The Moon Thief in Urthona

February 28, 2017

I’ve written a poem in response to a zen koan. The Moon Thief will be published in the forthcoming spring issue of Urthona. “‘The Moon Thief ’ came out of an encounter with the koan in the poem’s epigraph: the great Zen poet Ryokan, meditating in a mountain hermitage, offers his clothes to a thief but cannot […]

categories: reflections

An early draft of ‘The Edge’

July 1, 2015

There’s a poem in The Tide Clock titled ‘The Edge’. Here’s an earlier version of it that perhaps works in its own right, before the poem took a different turn. This version is more overtly about zazen: zen meditation practice. Just Sitting Waves relinquish the carracks, make fractals, circles, then stillness. My shadow drifts on the water, part of the […]

categories: poems

Narcissus Looks Again

March 11, 2015

The pond was deeper than expected, a giant footprint stamped into the earth. It was home to a fifty-pound ghost koi called Persephone. Music became silence, became music again. Moonlight shone on the tiles. Persephone broke the water with her tail. Now gaunt and middle-aged, I saw the moon glint on water like a ten pence coin, miles down, and […]

categories: poems
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Of the combustible and useless varieties of trees

March 3, 2015

Reading Fire Season, Philip Connors’ account of his experiences watching for forest fires in the Gila mountain range, I was struck by the following passage: “My own insights are fragmentary, fleeting. I write something in my notebook and forget it an hour later. I do not so much seek anything as allow the world to come to […]

categories: essays, philosophy, reflections

Shikantaza in Yoda’s cave

July 30, 2014

LUKE What’s in there? YODA Only what you take with you. It occurred to me that entering the haunted cave on planet Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back is like shikantaza meditation, which translates literally as ‘just sitting.’ They both seem to be situations in which you cannot avoid facing yourself. The challenge is to bring your […]

categories: reflections