Tag Archives: Buddhism

Jekyll/Hyde

fragments from Underworld

Said Will, while pointing to the place he stood,
There’s Henry Jekyll, also known as Hyde.
Though math’s not how he earned his doc’tral hood,
His project was to physic’lly divide
The human soul into the “Bad” and “Good”
And fully feel the power of each side.
It seems his fame’s the sort to always soar
Because his name’s become a metaphor.

 
Of such distinctions, people are quite fond.
Imagined cosmic wars of Right and Wrong
Are something few of us have moved beyond.
We’ve seen in black and white so very long
For fear that existence is a pond
Whose waters flow around the pointed prong
Which, partnered up with Concept’s nimble knife,
Attempts to slice, then pin and label life.

 

 

 

 

Will Preaches [to Saint Nick]

[Part III of “Santa in the Underworld”]

“How Rumor’s spell enchants adult and youth!
On what they hear, they’d gladly place a bet
Since what’s said first ‘must surely be the truth’.
To act on whisp’rings, folks expend their sweat
But labor not to play the searching sleuth
[Who’ll keep no fishy facts inside his net
Instead of being like a mockingbird
Which sings whatever song it’s lately heard].

The gentlest saint who ever lives and dies
Can’t know what disrespect he might be paid.
The World might see, with its distorted eyes,
Mistakes where prudent choices had been made
[…And dream up faults or magnify the size
Of real but minor flaws] throughout its raid
On people’s bastions built of kindly acts.
[A better jury might prefer the facts].

Perhaps that’s why a wise and ancient sage
Advised his pupils to expect no praise.
Results of deeds are difficult to gauge,
And fog of time will thicken more the haze
That clouds the acts in which we all engage
While stumbling through this snaky social maze.
To be less hurt when hearing no applause,
Expect no cheering for your noble cause.”

The moment William took a breathing pause
His sermon, not yet ended, was assailed
By Santa, who despised the final clause:
“You think expecting cheering’s where I failed?
I’m weary of your proverbs and your saws.
My name was furiously flayed and flailed.
I don’t lament approval that I lacked
But rather being sliced, impaled, and hacked.

Despite your words, you’re seeking approbation.
Perhaps you hoped you’d get me to concede
The wisdom of your moral recitation
And boost you with the self-esteem you need
And try so hard to earn with each oration.”
I didn’t know where their debate might lead
But thought I’d better keep it calm and short
By asking Santa ‘bout his fav’rite sport.

“Absent Presence” or “Present Absence”

Version 1:

Although I touch your hair

and see your vacant stare,

you are not truly there.

 

Although I hold you near,

my lips against your ear,

you are not truly here.

 

The form, which I devised, consists of stanzas of iambic trimeter containing rhyming tercets. I have considered rearranging the lines to put the poem in terza rima. In terza rima it would look like this:

Version 2:

Although I touch your hair,

my lips against your ear,

you are not truly there.

 

Although I hold you near,

and see your vacant stare,

you are not truly here.

I would welcome any feedback regarding which version works best.

 

Paul

“Skeleton”

This is the first part of a reflection on inter-being and the nature of self as an impermanent, ever-changing aggregate of historical, natural, social, and psychological factors. Who knows if I will ever finish the piece?

This skeleton–revealed when little else remains

beneath the hollow crown of cracking skull

A hue of paper marred with coffee stains–

…this is no more you than a ship its hull.

 

 

 

“Mindless Life in Ghostly Shadows”

a sonnet by Paul Burgess–this is one of my rare “serious” works. I would genuinely appreciate any feedback readers would provide.

This drinking tea to empty out a cup
And doing tasks to cross them off our lists
Directs the eyes to what is coming up,
Although what’s here, and nothing else, exists.
If sewing only to complete a dress
With thoughts of only what will next arrive,
Then shadows and a deathly emptiness
Accompany all moments we’re alive.

Without Awareness, tapestries of what has passed
Are woven presents filled with ghostly dreams,
And threads of faded “Now” that we’ve amassed
Will hold together Future’s fraying seams.
To always look behind or play the seer
Exchanges “is” for “is not truly here.”

This poem was inspired by the following passage from Thich Nhat Hahn’s Miracle of Mindfulness:

If while washing the dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.”…If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future–and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life” (5).

“Cheer Up, You Gloomy Bastards!”

A poem in ottava rima by Paul Burgess

Expecting pleasure always, never strife,
You curse existence saying it’s insane
And claim Despair’s your mother, Gloom’s your wife.
Your home you’ve often called the “House of Pain.”
Unmet conditions you’ve imposed on life
Don’t justify the way that you complain.
Refrain from putting poison in your cup—
That’s how to cheer a gloomy bastard up.

 

“Anagram” (an epigram on the topic–by Paul Burgess; also posted here: https://paulwhitberg.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/poem-an-epigram-on-an-anagram-by-paul-burgess/

A “poem” might become a mixed up “mope,”

Composed by some absurdly gloomy dope.

2 Limericks on the Topic– by Paul Burgess

If to write’s to complain and complain…
And complain, as if life were all pain,
Perhaps I’m no good,
And maybe I should
…complain and complain, and complain.

Some poets will write as if gloom
Were pervading all life to the tomb.
Of one who would write
With a heart that is light,
They’d declare, “For his kind, there’s no room.”