Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chasing the Young Lions

They stretch and yawn,
All easy grace, unthinking pride
Fix me with their predatory gaze
And reaching out a paw
Swat me aside

It takes all I have
To make them stretch an extra inch
To make the touch
Or extend the conversation
To a second phrase

Flush with strength and health
They take for granted
Everything I gain by painful effort
Incremental work
Or sheer good fortune

Most of all it stings
That age and wisdom
Confer no advantage
Old in body I am yet an infant in
This sport of kings

Still, a hopeless optimist,
I bait the big cats
Teasing them to strike
Thinking if I marshal every scrap of
My small skill
It may, someday, suffice

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kalyana Mitrata

In the clear lake of my mind
Your shadow
Cancels my reflection
Uncovers lucid depths
Momentary wisdom

Your fierce wit
empty boats
That strike my gunnel
Fray the rode that
Tethers me in place
Anchors my perception
Moored in certainty

Often what you give me
Is not what I want
But what I need
Unwelcome storms
That keep me from my sleep
Alert, awake

Growth is not comfort, it is
Knocking at the edges of the known world
Pushing boundaries
Venturing the blank space on the map
Daring dragons

In that quest it helps to have
A fellow traveler with infectious joy in life
The energy that leads to transformation
Who sees not what I am, but
What I will become
Partner in the act of self-creation
Spiritual friend

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mind Games

You know I will feint
I know you will parry
You foresee my disengage
Unless (ah hah!) I tarry

You know I know you know I
Will circle six and then riposte
My surprise—a four instead!
Unless I miss—and then I’m toast

My head is reeling from this game
of back-and-forth, observe, assessing
Far more quickly than I'd like
It devolves to second-guessing

Pick your poison, pick your cup
Offer me first choice in drinking
You are bound to win this game
I know my weakness—over-thinking!

If I could shut down my mind
Let my inner zombie drive
I could compete at this deception
See, react, evade, and thrive

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Pause

In a silent space
A universe of action
Waiting to unfold

Balanced in this gap
Perception and attention
See, without seeing
Know, without thought

Practice only this:
How to cultivate this state
In midst of battle

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Right of Way


The merest tap of blade
               A hint of hesitation
Unfolding of the arm
              A moment’s deviation
A stable point in line
              The slightest vacillation
A steadiness of mind
              A whiff of desperation
Beat, hold, take, act
             Waffle, hitch, counterattack

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Zen Negotiation

Just promise me, if
I give up all ambition
I will be perfect