Saturday, June 5, 2010

Rumor of Moose in the Long Twilight of New Hampshire

Neighbors described the high, rough coated shoulders

the long neck

the glandular bell hanging

the shy face

the modest face of a scholar

weary of reading in the dim light

of the forest, how he carried

the flared rack

the knobs the branches

of dense horn

sign of power..

the light lingered

we sat on the shore

and talked in whispers

watched the herons

heard the owl

greeted the moon

stared at the far shore

stared at the far shore

empty in the moonlight.

In Buddhism there is the metaphor of the far shore. We strive to get there, to the land of no-self, of interconnection, of compassion. We daily row our boat there through the practice of emptiness - of seeing ourselves continuous with all that is. In Mary's poem then I wonder who or what is empty. Perhaps it is us the watcher at one with the signs of power grazing all around us, as we are gazing all around us.

How are you "not here" or "empty?"


  1. Tee Lee says: It seems easier to "empty" now in my sixties. All I have to do is listen to my inner voice, which manufactures endless parameters, cause and effect chains, theories, and generalizations and narratives about my environment. The chatter can be so ridiculous, that moving away from it is much easier now. THEN, sometimes, there is a tiny glimpse of the Thing Itself, stripped of all my analysis - what a relief, and a pleasure!

  2. In the poem I thought it was us the watchers being empty.

    I agree with Tee it is much easier now that I'm older to empty my mind of the chatter, to do lists, and worries about the future.

    Sometimes I am "not here" while sitting quietly staring at nothing in particular. It is a form of relaxation.

    I use the ability to be 'empty' or 'not here' when undergoing things like MRI's, CT's, or tooth drilling without novacaine. Sometimes I begin by focusing on one spot. Sometimes I close my eyes and view a blank screen. It makes it easier to remain still for an extended period of time. When I am in nature time is unnoticable. I may be there for five minutes or five hours and I am surprised when I come back how much time has passed. This inability to notice the passage of time also happens when engrossed in a creative, inventive project.

    It has been used by companies such as Microsoft to have that total emptiness so that creativity can come in. I suspect we may discover it is all related to the same parts of the brain. While we think our brain is not working and empty, it probably really is working. It does make us feel that we are just a small part of a bigger universe.