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Posts tagged “poetry

The Waters of March by Antonio Jobim

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I got an email today asking, “What is zen?” from someone who seemed very sincere. This, with a bit of further explanation, is how I chose to answer – it’s the lyrics to an old (circa 1970’s) Brazilian song. It’s long been a favorite of mine. I think it answers the question “What is zen?” perfectly. . . .  .

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A stick, a stone,
It’s the end of the road,
It’s the rest of a stump,
It’s a little alone

It’s a sliver of glass,
It is life, it’s the sun,
It is night, it is death,
It’s a trap, it’s a gun

The oak when it blooms,
A fox in the brush,
A knot in the wood,
The song of a thrush

The wind in the wood,
A cliff, a fall,
A scratch, a lump,
It is nothing at all

It’s the wind blowing free,
It’s the end of the slope,
It’s a beam, it’s a void,
It’s a hunch, it’s a hope

And the river bank talks
of the waters of March,
It’s the end of the strain,
The joy in your heart

The foot, the ground,
The flesh and the bone,
The bend in the road,
A slingshot’s stone

A fish, a flash,
A silvery glow,
A fight, a bet,
The range of a bow

The bed of the well,
The end of the line,
The dismay in your face,
It’s a loss, it’s a find

A spear, a spike,
A point, a nail,
A drip, a drop,
The end of the tale

A truckload of bricks
in the soft morning light,
The shot of a gun
in the dead of the night

A mile, a must,
A thrust, a bump,
It’s a girl, it’s a rhyme,
It’s a cold, it’s the mumps

The plan of the house,
The body in bed,
And the car that got stuck,
It’s the mud, it’s the mud

Afloat, adrift,
A flight, a wing,
A hawk, a quail,
The promise of spring

And the riverbank talks
of the waters of March,
It’s the promise of life
It’s the joy in your heart

A stick, a stone,
It’s the end of the road
It’s the rest of a stump,
It’s a little alone

A snake, a stick,
It is John, it is Joe,
It’s a thorn in your hand
and a cut in your toe

A point, a grain,
A bee, a bite,
A blink, a buzzard,
A sudden stroke of night

A pin, a needle,
A sting, a pain,
A snail, a riddle,
A wasp, a stain

A pass in the mountains,
A horse and a mule,
In the distance the shelves
rode three shadows of blue

And the riverbank talks
of the waters of March,
It’s the promise of life
in your heart, in your heart

A stick, a stone,
The end of the road,
The rest of a stump,
A lonesome road

A sliver of glass,
A life, the sun,
A knife, a death,
The end of the run

And the riverbank talks
of the waters of March,
It’s the end of all strain,
It’s the joy in your heart
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© Babaloo Bonzai and Babaloo Bonzai’s Zen Soup, 2010.

The Waters of March © Antonio Jobim


Chinese Poem

The rustling nightfall strews my robe with roses,
And the scented petals bring forgetfulness
Of shadow after shadow striding past.
I arise with the stars and exultantly follow
The sweep of the moon along the hushing stream,
Where no birds wake; only the far-drawn sigh
Of voices whispering farewell.

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Li Po – 706-765 AD – China

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Walk-About

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if they can’t find me

just say: she fell down a well – or

she went swimming in the dark

and something in the blue-black water swallowed her.

or tell them I went to Detroit

to look at the river

and got carried away.

but don’t let them call the fire and rescue

or send out boats

cause I’m not really there.

don’t tell them I’m putting myself on hold

for anyone’s sake

or leaving out one single thing.

don’t tell them time is too much for me

or that I don’t like the ordinary sky

cause it’s not true.

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if they can’t find me

tell them not to worry-

I want it that way.

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© Babaloo Bonzai and Babaloo Bonzai’s Zen Soup, 2010.


The Wind In The Morning

morning trailing fuschia, purple,

vermillion clouds

still close to the night.

the small ones whir and chirp awake

tentatively, with tiny breaths

while the new light is stretched

long and fuzzy on the ground.

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one bird tries a single note

clarion of pure joy. . .

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the sun rolls, already humming

trying to tickle the grass awake.

far out on the interstate

the traffic picks up

carried into my kitchen on the quiet.

the wind picks up too

and sways the trees in graceful, rhythmic dance

against that painted sky,

as I savor the last few muted moments

of half light

and the wind in the morning.

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© Babaloo Bonzai and Babaloo Bonzai’s Zen Soup, 2010.

*this poem is for The Maestro