verses in various meters about sundry themes.

Friday, May 15, 2009


The verses below are about the thoughts of philosophers (their last names all begin with “H” for now). The verses are all in dactylic hexameter—four feet of dactyls or spondees, one dactyl, and one spondee. To make it simpler, I have mostly kept to five dactyls ending with a spondee). Here is an example of this meter: Down in a | deep dark | hole sat an | old pig | munching a | bean stalk.

Hákuin Máster of Zén was íce shattered bý the bells’ rínging
Óver the hílls under Fúji, and súddenly hé had satóri.
Róomfuls of óne-handed cláppers appláuding the máster’s satóri.
Súch a long tíme had Hákuin lónged for his cértificátion;
Líght was his fírst enlíghtenment, réading béautiful sútras,
Thén he télls of the béll and the íce, agáin was enlíghtened,
Héavier thán befóre, it was “trý and trý” for satóri.

Some laws are written and others are hidden so no one can know them
Men who are miners know where there’s treasure and how to derive it.
Minor to major, analogies help, comparison also.

Back in the day when they turned on the light of the mind they had high hopes,

Make a few laws and forget what was said by the ancient tradition,
Let clever lawyers direct how things run, and then who needs religion.
All men are good men and we can control hidden workings of nature.
Laws cannot change hidden thoughts and desires in the hearts of the people
knowing what feels to be right and eternally true, but laws that are man-made,
Laws that impose what is ugly and crooked, inspire no allegiance.

Memory collective, selectively drawing, rejects things that don’t fit
into the story the group has narrated for some noble purpose,
blanks out the bad stuff that fits not the mythmaking aims and ambitions.
If you see something that you shouldn’t see, recollection will fail you
Scratching your head in dismay, as the memories slip from your vision.

Miner’s were dying in tunnels exploding and gases were noxious.
Coal was as black as the darkness before the creation of lightning,
divers had bubbles in bloodstreams and troubles in rising
to the high surface of oceans when too deep in water.
Elements, atoms and molecules have been invented by clever
scientists who then regard their own concepts as very much real things,
empty abstractions that serve as distractions for true contemplation.
Puppies and oaktrees are not heaps of atoms no more than ourselves are.

Language is truly a gift from God, it is not merely makeshift
filling the weakness of instinct in humans, a sort of invention.
Words have the past and the future all packaged in sonorous soundings,
words are traditional legacies handed on down from the ancients.

Looking inside my mind and my heart and my memory traces
I can’t find anything good inside so I look to the outside
Looking to do some good deeds to fill up the emptiness inside

Makers of coffins impatiently wait for the death of the people
if they will feed their own children, provide for their loved ones,

If I can find a true Zen state of Mind when I look at a landscape
Is it not true that a beautiful girl can be just as entrancing?

Foreign traditions insinuate into the Mediate Kingdom,
Breaking all family ties and destroying the ancient devotion,
trampling down bonds between brothers and sisters and fathers,
no help expected from hermits who seek only dark desolations.

All that is left of the past and the gone are the forms of awareness
Big shapes existed but never persisted and time is so careless.

If you have eyes that can see in the dark, then stop and observe this:
Realm of the ghost and the mind interacting with lowliest matter,
acting in nature and going beyond it to build up a city,
while the Slovakian underground program for space exploration
plans daily flights to the noosphere’s outermost reaches.

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