Poetry If You Please

He said
keep writing
your poetry
and I had
to smile
to myself.


Here is Basho talking about his passion for writing poetry.
In this mortal frame of mine which is made of a hundred bones and nine orifices there is something, and this something is called a wind-swept spirit for lack of a better name, for it is much like a thin drapery that is torn and swept away at the slightest stir of the wind. This something in me took to writing poetry years ago, merely to amuse itself at first, but finally making it its lifelong business. It must be admitted, however, that there were times when it sank into such dejection that it was almost ready to drop its pursuit, or again times when it was so puffed up with pride that it exulted in vain victories over the others. Indeed, ever since it began to write poetry, it has never found peace with itself, always wavering between doubts of one kind and another. At one time it wanted to gain security by entering the service of a court, and at another it wished to measure the depth of its ignorance by trying to be a scholar, but it was prevented from either because of its unquenchable love of poetry. The fact is, it knows no other art than the art of writing poetry, and therefore, it hangs onto it more or less blindly.

Rays Of Sun Shining

Window in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool

Ah Blackpool! Ah The Winter Gardens, the Pleasure Beach, the lights, the tower. My abiding memory is of losing a small boy at the Pleasure Beach. One out of eleven wasn’t so bad, but it was one too many all the same!

No lost child while on a business trip yesterday. Thankfully. Somehow with Blackpool one has to suspend all good sense and taste and simply ‘be there’ with all the glitz and fun-o-the-fair energy washing around one. Perhaps that is the charm of seaside towns, to loose oneself for a bit and enjoy the seagulls, Victorian splendor, pink candy floss and ice cream. The sun shone from a clear blue sky and The Winter Gardens were splendid. But it was the Tower Ballroom, hostess to glitzy Come Dancing, I’d really liked to have seen. Just once.

Blackpool was the favoured seaside resort for Lancashire Wakes Week. A time when mills were closed down for maintenance and the workers had a weeks unpaid holiday. Workers from Blackburn or Oldham or Stockport, living it up for a week in sunny Blackpool.

Wakes Week
There is a merry, happy time,
To grace withal this simple ryhme:
There is jovial, joyous hour,
Of mirth and jollity in store:
The Wakes! The Wakes!
The jocund wakes!
My wandering memory now forsakes
The present busy scene of things,
Erratic upon Fancy’s wings,
For olden times, with garlands crown’d
And rush-carts green on many a mound.
In hamlets bearing a great name,
The first in astronomic fame.
— From The Village Festival by Droylsden poet Elijah Ridings.

There is nothing like the seaside and some sunshine.

Remembering Iain – Reminded of Truth

Spoken at Iain’s cremation:

When somebody is no more, whose life has gone out of them, we, who shared in that life – mourn. On all levels there is personal loss and great sadness. And so we gather together to remember what has been. We recall what the newly dead did in their lives. We remember the person that animated that life. We remember their actions – their traits – their strengths. And we pepper our thoughts with memories of their weaknesses too. And we can laugh, a little.

And – inevitably – there are silent regrets, small resentments, things said and things not said. Perhaps we remember deeds not done or – deeds unwise. How are we to find peace enough with our memories – happy ones and less happy ones? How are we to let go and move on?

At times such as this we must draw on our inner resources, be they informed by a faith tradition or not. It is said that all beings have an intuitive sense of a spiritual depth to our being. I term this the ground of our being – or our enlightened nature. Our default if you like! As fundamental to existence as the air we breath.

I’ll have a go at describing that ground, our nature as enlightened beings. The watchword is Compassion. Compassionate acceptance. And falling like rain, unconditional love. Compassion and love coalesce in wise discernment informing our actions. Compassion, Love and Wisdom. We have resources to hand. Let us put them to use for Iain’s sake, and for our own too. This is how we can help him now. Through loving acceptance of his sudden passing.

People came from far and wide to say their goodbye’s. Today at the crematorium, in Lancaster. We saw the coffin off. Later all that will remain will be ashes.

Somewhere Between Happy And Sad

I think therefore I exist?

Somewhere between happy and sad?
There’s a point where there is nothing to be found?
At this indescribable point
There is no sun and no moon?

As the day shifts timelessly still
Am I here?
The blue mood out of the grey

Pulls? Pushes? Stays?

The curtains were open all night
So the light grows
But nothing changes?

Thoughtless gaze
This endless state
Where did it come from?
Part of the sky?
Before the end of this question
You realize
Your not there

Daniel Killeen

I came across this poem following a link a reader sent to me the other day. A cause for thought, I think.

Iain was dressed in his robe and kesa today. They said he had a smile on his face….

Dedication Of Spiritual Merit

Two monks from Shasta Abbey went to the Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women in Bangkok, Thailand in June. What stories they had to tell on their return. Their particular contribution to the conference was around the singing/chanting of scriptures in English. They did a brilliant job. Here you can see them singing the Scripture of Great Wisdom at the begging of the Conference. You see them about three minutes into the video.

And even better! Here are the two monks singing the Dedication of Merit at the close of the conference.

This is one of my favorite invocations. Sing along why not. Found on the Shasta Abbey website. Well done Rev. H – you have missed nothing out!

Another full day which included a two hour nap starting around 11.00 am! The mind and body can only take so much of this intense planning and organizing. This morning we mailed a parcel of clothes to the Funeral Home for Iain to be dressed in. Details, details, so many details to be taken care of.

I know very many of Iain’s friends and and on-line acquaintances are offering their best wishes and thoughts to his wife and family, and me. I mentioned to Iain when we last spoke on the telephone that spiritual merit was being sent and he said he knew that. Yes, he did know that. Deeply.

What on earth am I going to do without him watching over my posts and sending me emails when I made spelling blunders. Or worse, my language use slipped beyond his tolerance level. He loved language, among other things.