Saturday, November 28, 2009


“I’m tired, and my foot is sore”
“I’ve already fenced you twice, I’ll wait
For a new opponent”
“My tip tape’s shredded and untidy”
(So pick at it with forefinger and thumb)
“Let’s not really fence, let’s whack, instead”
“It’s almost time to go, I might as well relax”
“Look! Cookies! I will eat just one. I earned it, right?”

So many ways to cleverly evade
The rigors of real practice
Playing ball,
Arguing the touch (yours or mine, and why?)
Debating fine interpretation of the rules

And (worst of all) the subtle laziness
That looks like earnest effort
Doing the same action
O’er and o’er and o’er
Why? Because it works
Avoiding the real challenge of
Experiment, and failure

So ask yourself,
How best to use the small and precious span
You have within this salle?
Why, just for example, are you wasting time
Reading this damn poem!?

Badger says: get back to work…

Monday, November 9, 2009


How, through such a little gash
Can all my strength leak out?
Prideful muscles sidelined by
The weakest link

Suddenly, it’s not hard to find
A challenge
Just pulling on my socks’
Sufficiently ambitious

All of nature’s order overturned
Lolling in bed? A virtue
Jello—looks quite tasty
Pillows—feel like rocks

I crave heating pads and ice
A purring cat in quest of lap
Provokes a cringe

Robbed of comfort normally maintained by
Combat and contention
My practice turns
To skills I rarely cultivate

Stillness, rest, inaction
Turning inward to assess my body’s needs
Listening to pain instead of shrugging

Struggling for control
I set myself heroic tasks
Sleeping eight full hours
Passing up the weights

I could do quite well without this
Vivid demonstration of
The dharma’s truth
The frail impermanence of all illusive strength

Lesson learned—now give me a reprieve of ten or twenty years
Before the teaching is applied in force