Should evergreens be

Graveyard lichens 2012-07-24 13.55.57

Should evergreens be
The only trees in graveyards
Fragrant spruce—fir—pine
Year-round perfuming the dead
Dreams fragile in the cold ground?

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Depth Charge: This tanka was sparked by a line from Akutagawa Ryunosuke’s short story, O-Gin, as translated by Jay Rubin: “…dreaming their fragile dreams of a Buddhist paradise there beneath the graveyard pines…”

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

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To some the bright stars

To some the bright stars
Of a cold winter night sky
Are an immense weight
Of darkness
x                      —void
x                                  —but others
In their dreams
x                                   —float
x                       —forever

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Depth Charge: The impetus for this Exploded Tanka* is a line from Akutagawa Ryunosuke’s Hell Screen, as translated by Jay Rubin: “He wore what seemed to be his usual reddish-brown robe and tall soft black hat, and he looked especially small and shabby, as though the star-filled sky were a weight pressing down upon him.”

*The standard 5-7-5-7-7, 31-syllable scan is maintained, but the lines have been pulled apart for ease of alternate readings, such as reading it in columns according to indentation: To some the bright stars/Of a cold winter night sky/Are an immense weight/Of darkness/In their dreams/—void/—forever/—but others/—float. The original lines are easily enough re-constructed: To some the bright stars/Of a cold winter night sky/Are an immense weight/Of darkness—void—but others/In their dreams—float—forever.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

On Mount Royal, Early Autumn

Felled tree on Mount Royal

On Mount Royal, Early Autumn
(after Autumn Twilight, Dwelling in the Mountains by Wang Wei)

The path is busy after work,
Late summer blending into autumn.

Sunlight shines through maple trees,
Lights up glimpses of the Saint Lawrence.

Young joggers laugh and talk,
Gravel crunching underfoot.

We come and go like the falling leaves,
The homeless build shelters for the night.

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Depth Charge: This poem is a response poem to Wang Wei’s poem “Autumn Twilight, Dwelling Among Mountains” and, in particular, David Hinton’s overwrought translation, which goes to extreme lengths to jam in Chan Buddhist references and esoteric language that are  either not there or best left implicit. Below is the original Chinese, Hinton’s translation and my translation.

山居秋暝 (王維)

空山新雨後,天氣晚來秋。
明月松間照,清泉石上流。
竹喧歸浣女,蓮動下漁舟。
隨意春芳歇,王孫自可留。

Autumn Twilight, Dwelling Among Mountains
by Wang Wei, translated by David Hinton

In empty mountains after the new rains,
it’s late. Sky-ch’i has brought autumn –

bright moon incandescent in the pines,
crystalline stream slipping across rocks.

Bamboo rustles: homeward washerwomen.
Lotuses waver: a boat gone downstream.

Spring blossoms wither away by design,
but a distant recluse can stay on and on.

Autumn Twilight Among the Mountains
by Wang Wei, translated by Andrew Grimes Griffin

The mountains are empty after new rain,
Autumn weather is late arriving.

The bright moon shines through the pines,
Clear water flows over stones.

Bamboo rustles as the washer women go home,
Lotus blossoms are pushed under a fisherman`s boat.

Spring fragrance comes and goes on its own,
The monkeys are free to remain.

If you’d like to view the poetry and writing that is not tanka, or tanka related, please click here. 

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Buddhas—horny—fat

Clouds over Blooming Point IMG_20130730_162626

On Blooming Point Beach
They  are sitting patiently
Buddhas—horny—fat

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Depth Charge: A section of Blooming Point Beach on Prince Edward Island is an unofficial nude beach and it also can be a cruising spot.

If you’d like to view the poetry and writing that is not tanka, or tanka related, please click here. 

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Monkey No Aware #14 The Trouble with Saving Souls

lacrimae rerum by Andrew Grimes Griffin

The concept of a “soul,” is surely among the most reactionary, anti-human concepts every created. It posits something that is unchanging, and life is about change. It is supposed to be the essence of you, but it doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to “god”; therefore, in order to save it, god’s representatives, be they priests, rabbis, mullahs or Dalai Lama’s are justified in doing anything – including enslavement, torture and murder. You don’t need to look to the middle ages for examples – just look to the Evangelical Christians who force their gay children to undergo therapy to cure their homosexuality or the Muslim father who slaughters both his daughters to protect his and their honor. These things, and worse, are being done today in order to save eternal souls.

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Black Cat, White Horse

Just Passing Through

This world is not a room
You simply walk through,
Closing the door behind you
As you go.
No, not a single part of you will leave,
Just as you did not bring anything
Not already here
When you appeared.
Trying to separate yourself
From this world
Is as futile as trying to strip
The black from a black cat,
The white from a white horse.

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To read more, Click on this link Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Buddha, Life is a Cabaret

Fengxian-Si-Cave
“吾未見好德,如好色者也。/ I have yet to see anyone who loves virtue more than sex” — Analects, Confucius.

Buddha,  you say

life is only a handful
of loose sand tightly held
in a closed fist
slowly let go

so what

Buddha, you say

the world passes away
we as in a dream are
connected but fleetingly
and not in fact

so what

Buddha, Life is a Cabaret

a few naked hours
embraced tightly
in each other’s arms
is time and world

 enough

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To read or download a copy of “Songs about Sex, Death and Cicadas” by Andrew Grimes Griffin, click on this link. To download a copy, right click the link, and select “Save link as…”

Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin

Monkey No Aware #9 — Religion is brainwashing then bullying

lacrimae rerum by Andrew Grimes Griffin

Religion for children is about brainwashing, for adults it’s about bullying.

People who convert to a religion as an adult, especially a religion like Buddhism that is largely foreign to their culture, can cherry-pick the doctrines of their newly adopted faith. They like to claim it is about freedom of choice. But for the vast majority of people, religion is not and never will be about freedom – it starts off as brainwashing and then becomes bully and/or be bullied.

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