Poetry & Koans: A day in Santa Rosa April 27 10.30 am - 4.30 pm
Something I'm up to.
When I was child I made a mistake in a library, in Launceston Tasmania; I was looking for pictures of fish and somehow blundered into a sea story—Ezra Pound’s translation of the 11th book in the Odyssey where they sail off to the underworld. It had a physical effect on me, the way a koan does now. Koans and poems have always been associated, they are words that unmake the world, and bring new worlds into being. Poems and koans embrace life, they accept the offer. They are good company in the underworld times, and also full of light and joy.
Here’s Meng Hau-jan’s “Night on the Great River”—
Dropping anchor at the misty island,
the lonely feeling increases at sundown.
And in huge space, the sky bends down the trees,
And in the quiet river, the moon is near
Even in the sense of sorrow at evening, there’s an underlying feel for the quiet we move through at such times, and the mysterious power that holds us all up.
So I'm doing a one day retreat this coming weekend that combines poems and koans, meditation and some writing, too. I want us to explore the mind that poetry comes from, which is the same mind that awakening comes from. You don't need to be a poet to attend, just someone curious about poetry, what it is and where it comes from. The beauty of the world presses itself into us and poetry records that. Writing is optional, but can help us glimpse the images and language that are always appearing and falling away. I will also read you lots of favorite poems and we will have a chance to sit with them.https://www.pacificzen.org/gates-and-poems/