The Last Poem of Hoshin

Saturday: Helped our friends Cheryl and Tom move out of their house Saturday for a bit … they sold it, as they are getting ready to head to Arizona. Tom and I have known each other some 38 years… Kinda strange and all thinking we won’t be on each others door step every few days. So, after they finished up, we had them and their nephew Woody, over for dinner, and then Woody left for a film with friends.

We sat back for a nice night of Absinthe drinking and general hanging out. A wonderful time, fraught with those emotions of this could be it for quite awhile. (they are threatening to come up for Winter Solstice, which would be rather cool)

A poem that came after they left that evening:

– La Fée Verte Saturday Night –

So the evening flows…

The lights fade, and we sit

drinking absinthe and talking

the times

future and past

and how it is now…

The candle plays across the glasses as I

perform the ceremony:

Absinthe, Spoon, Sugar, Cold Water

mixing the Cloud…

Mary Smiles, asking for a glass

her smile takes mine

and we soon are listening as one..

oh my beautiful one…

Another round

The heavy glasses clouded now

Tom is smiling, his pains have disappeared

“It’s a miracle he exclaims”!

His smile returns and he is the lad

I have always known…

No, it is but the “La Fée Verte”

and she is dancing, dancing in our heads…

I rush to make another and the light is amber

Laughter rises in waves, Laughter rises in waves,

and it is a wonder…

and it is a wonder…

a joyous


Sunday: Victor came by, after not showing up for many, many months it seems. Had a great time, talking, drinking coffee (it helped from the night before with the absinthe…) He brought some excellent sounds by, which will migrate over to Earth Rites Radio this week.

I got some nice cards for Fathers’ Day, from my relatives. Thanks to you all. We had a brilliant curry, that Rowan did lots of. He is learning basic Indian Cookery from Mary, and is taking to it like a duck to water!

The Week looks like it will be a busy one. Web Site work, finishing the Magazine, Some outside stuff and the odd and interesting that shows up…

On the Menu:

The Links

The Quotes

The Last Poem of Hoshin

Haiku/Poetry: Basho

The Art: Japanese Wood Block Prints from the 18th & 19th Centuries…




The Links:

Taking Happy to the Extreme (caffeine powered!)

Who Owns the Word ‘Terror’?

SINGAPORE: Blogger who posted cartoons of Christ online being investigated


The Quotes:

“Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.”

“Do I contradict myself?/ Very well then I contradict myself,/ (I am large, I contain multitudes.)”

“The nice thing about being a celebrity is that when you bore people, they think it’s their fault.”

“A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.”

“The trouble with facts is that there are so many of them.”

“Fashion is something that goes in one year and out the other.”

“Being in the army is like being in the Boy Scouts, except that the Boy Scouts have adult supervision.”


The Last Poem of Hoshin

The Zen Master Hoshin lived in China many years. Then he returned to the northeastern part of Japan, where he taught his disciples. When he was getting very old, he told them a story he had heard in China. This is the story:

One year on the twenty-fifth of December, Tokufu, who was very old, said to his disciples: “I am not going to be alive next year so you fellows should treat me well this year.”

The pupils thought he was joking, but since he was a great-hearted teacher each of them in turn treated him to a feast on succeeding days of the departing year.

On the eve of the new year, Tokufu concluded: “You have been good to me. I shall leave tomorrow afternoon when the snow has stopped.”

The disciples laughed, thinking he was aging and talking nonsense since the night was clear and without snow. But at midnight snow began to fall, and the next day they did not find their teacher about. They went to the meditation hall. There he had passed on.

Hoshin, who related this story, told his disciples: “It is not necessary for a Zen master to predict his passing, but if he really wishes to do so, he can.”

“Can you?” someone asked.

“Yes,” answered Hoshin. “I will show you what I can do seven days from now.”

None of the disciples believed him, and most of them had even forgotten the conversation when Hoshin called them together.

“Seven days ago,” he remarked, “I said I was going to leave you. It is customary to write a farewell poem, but I am neither a poet or a calligrapher. Let one of you inscribe my last words.”

His followers thought he was joking, but one of them started to write.

“Are you ready?” Hoshin asked.

“Yes sir,” replied the writer.

Then Hoshin dictated:

I came from brillancy

And return to brillancy.

What is this?

This line was one line short of the customary four, so the disciple said: “Master, we are one line short.”

Hoshin, with the roar of a conquering lion, shouted “Kaa!” and was gone.



Haiku/Poetry: Basho

Cold night: the wild duck

Cold night: the wild duck,

sick, falls from the sky

and sleeps awhile.

In this world of ours,

Yo no naka wa kutte hako shite nete okite

Sate sono ato wa shinuru bakari zo

In this world of ours,

We eat only to cast out,

Sleep only to wake,

And what comes after all that

Is simply to die at last.

The dragonfly

The dragonfly

can’t quite land

on that blade of grass.



attached to nothing,

the skylark singing.

Wrapping the rice cakes

Wrapping the rice cakes,

with one hand

she fingers back her hair.

Four Haiku


A hill without a name

Veiled in morning mist.

The beginning of autumn:

Sea and emerald paddy

Both the same green.

The winds of autumn

Blow: yet still green

The chestnut husks.

A flash of lightning:

Into the gloom

Goes the heron’s cry.

Heat waves shimmering

Heat waves shimmering

one or two inches

above the dead grass

More Basho:

arranged in saijiki fashion


this autumn

as reason for growing old

a cloud and a bird

the whole family

all with white hair and canes

visiting graves

souls’ festival

today also there is smoke

from the crematory

lotus pond

as they are unplucked

Souls’ Festival

Buddha’s Death Day

from wrinkled praying hands

the rosaries’ sound

Mii Temple

knocking on the gate for a wish

today’s moon

not to think of yourself

as someone who did not count –

Festival of the Souls

the moon so pure

a wandering monk carries it

across the sand

all night

autumn winds being heard

behind the mountains

(from Oka no Hosomichi)

blue seas

breaking waves smell of rice wine

tonight’s moon

so clear the sound

echoes to the Big Dipper

the fulling block

hair shaved in a moon-shape

with their hands on their knees

in the early hours of night


the setting moon

the thing that remains

four corners of his desk

sleeping in the temple

the serious-looking face

is moon-viewing

the full moon

seven story-songs of a woman

turning towards the sea

viewing the moon

no one at the party

has such a beautiful face

the farmer’s child

rests from husking rice

then sees the moon

occasional clouds

one gets a rest

from moon-viewing

famous moon!

circling the pond all night

even to the end

buying a measure box

now I feel differently

about moon-viewing

harvest moon

northland weather

uncertain skies

taken in my hand

it will vanish in hot tears

autumn frost

full autumn moon

to my gate comes rising

crested tide

thin from the Kiso trip

and still not yet recovered

the late harvest moon

bright red

the pitiless sun

autumn winds

autumn wind

broken with sadness

his mulberry stick

autumn winds

in the sliding door’s opening

a sharp voice

autumn wind:

as thickets in fields are

Fuwa’s barriers

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