On the Menu:
Two Recent Events
Two Zen Parables
The Poetry of W.H. Auden
Art: Jessie M. King…
A few articles for catch up and all that… be sure to tune into the radio, 18 hours of new sounds!
Two Recent Events:
The Dragon Boat Races!
Rowans’ Dragon Boat, ‘Dragon Funk’ taking 1st place in its 1st heat of The Portland Dragon Races during Rose Week, the weekend before the last…. (The Rose Parade was going full bore at this point as well). There are several levels of competition, Rowan’s Team was competing in the High School Division/Level. They took 4th overall, out of some 24 teams…!
Rowan at the end of that race! The energy was very dynamic, and the Team was practically floating off their feet when they came up off of the deck…..! The event spanned the whole weekend… Mary and I stayed pretty much through the whole event. Rain, Shine, Rain Shine. Portland in June. Ya gotta love it, and look at all the different shades of grey!
Visiting with Will & Ed
Towards the end of last week, we were blessed by a visit from our friend Will Penna and his long time friend Ed. The were just finishing up a 10 day tour of the North West from their homes in the Bay Area. Ed lives in San Francisco, and Will lives up in Sonoma County.
They went up all the way into Canada, and then back down…
Will and I have been crossing paths since 1966… We have known the same people, and been at the same events, but only got to meet back in 1998 or 1999, you know, last century. *0) It was nice seeing them both, and having a chat in the morning sun.
Cymon came over as well to meet Will, but wasn’t quite ready for the early morning camera. It was a very wide ranging conversation, with the birds overhead, Sofie the dog running around the rabbit hutch, and all the plants coming into bloom.
Anyway, we had a nice couple of hours, and it was great meeting Ed after all these years. He plans to come back north with his daughter in the fall, hopefully we will arrange some time out to the beach and all…
Will said he is planning to come north again as well. Hopefully we get more time together soon!
Do you know of the endless conversation? We always seem to pick up where we left off!
Two Zen Parables….
Taming the Mind
After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot.
“There,” he said to the old man, “see if you can match that!”
Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain.
Curious about the old fellow’s intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit.
“Now it is your turn,” he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground.
Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target.
“You have much skill with your bow,” the master said, sensing his challenger’s predicament, “but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot.”
The Prime Minister of the Tang Dynasty was a national hero for his success as both a statesman and military leader. But despite his fame, power, and wealth, he considered himself a humble and devout Buddhist. Often he visited his favorite Zen master to study under him, and they seemed to get along very well. The fact that he was prime minister apparently had no effect on their relationship, which seemed to be simply one of a revered master and respectful student.
One day, during his usual visit, the Prime Minister asked the master, “Your Reverence, what is egotism according to Buddhism?” The master’s face turned red, and in a very condescending and insulting tone of voice, he shot back, “What kind of stupid question is that!?”
This unexpected response so shocked the Prime Minister that he became sullen and angry. The Zen master then smiled and said, “THIS, Your Excellency, is egotism.”
The Poetry of W. H. Auden
After Reading a Child’s Guide to Modern Physics
As the son of a physicist, Auden had an enduring interest in science and the moral issues surrounding it.
If all a top physicist knows
About the Truth be true,
Then, for all the so-and-so’s,
Futility and grime,
Our common world contains,
We have a better time
Than the Greater Nebulae do,
Or the atoms in our brains.
Marriage is rarely bliss
But, surely it would be worse
As particles to pelt
At thousands of miles per sec
About a universe
Wherein a lover’s kiss
Would either not be felt
Or break the loved one’s neck.
Though the face at which I stare
While shaving it be cruel
For, year after year, it repels
An ageing suitor, it has,
Thank God, sufficient mass
To be altogether there,
Not an indeterminate gruel
Which is partly somewhere else.
Our eyes prefer to suppose
That a habitable place
Has a geocentric view,
That architects enclose
A quiet Euclidian space:
Exploded myths – but who
Could feel at home astraddle
An ever expanding saddle?
This passion of our kind
For the process of finding out
Is a fact one can hardly doubt,
But I would rejoice in it more
If I knew more clearly what
We wanted the knowledge for,
Felt certain still that the mind
Is free to know or not.
It has chosen once, it seems,
And whether our concern
For magnitude’s extremes
Really become a creature
Who comes in a median size,
Or politicizing Nature
Be altogether wise,
Is something we shall learn.
Voltaire At Ferney
Almost happy now, he looked at his estate.
An exile making watches glanced up as he passed,
And went on working; where a hospital was rising fast
A joiner touched his cap; an agent came to tell
Some of the trees hed planted were progressing well.
The white alps glittered. It was summer. He was very great.
Far off in Paris, where his enemies
Whsipered that he was wicked, in an upright chair
A blind old woman longed for death and letters. He would write
Nothing is better than life. But was it? Yes, the fight
Against the false and the unfair
Was always worth it. So was gardening. Civilise.
Cajoling, scolding, screaming, cleverest of them all,
Hed had the other children in a holy war
Against the infamous grown-ups, and, like a child, been sly
And humble, when there was occassion for
The two-faced answer or the plain protective lie,
But, patient like a peasant, waited for their fall.
And never doubted, like DAlembert, he would win:
Only Pascal was a great enemy, the rest
Were rats already poisoned; there was much, though, to be done,
And only himself to count upon.
Dear Diderot was dull but did his best;
Rousseau, hed always known, would blubber and give in.
So, like a sentinel, he could not sleep. The night was full of wrong,
Earthquakes and executions. Soon he would be dead,
And still all over Europe stood the horrible nurses
Itching to boil their children. Only his verses
Perhaps could stop them: He must go on working: Overhead
The uncomplaining stars composed their lucid song.
Lay Your Sleeping Head, My Love
Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephermeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.
Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermits sensual ecstasy.
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreadful cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but not from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.
Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of sweetness show
Eye and knocking heart may bless.
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness see you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.