Friday, October 16, 2020


We may or may not walk this way again, and even if we do, we will never be precisely the same people who experienced that journey in the first place. Travel is only ever about a moment in time and space, but it’s also about how we choose to hold that moment in our memories. It is always both present and past.

~Jason Wilson

The Washington Post Magazine

photo: (c) bruce behnke

Sunday, October 11, 2020

universal truth

Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.
― Maya Angelou

photo: (c) bruce behnke 2012

Saturday, October 10, 2020

. . .


The impermanence of this floating world
I feel over and over
It is hardest to be the one left behind.

~the Zen nun, Rengetsu

photo: (c) bruce behnke 2012

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

autumnal equinox 2020


The autumn air is clear,
The autumn moon is bright,
Leaves that have fallen gather and scatter,
Jackdaws roost
 and start anew.
Yearning for each other, when shall we meet again?
It is hard to love this night

~Li Bai

秋 風 清
秋 月 明
落 葉 聚 還 散
寒 鴉 棲 复 驚
相 思 相 見 知 何 日
此 時 此 夜 難 為 情


ed. note (from Wikipedia:)
  Much of Li's life is reflected in his poetry: places which he visited, friends whom he saw off on journeys to distant locations perhaps never to meet again, his own dream-like imaginations embroidered with shamanic overtones, current events of which he had news, descriptions taken from nature in a timeless moment of poetry, and so on. However, of particular importance are the changes in the times through which he lived. His early poetry took place in the context of a "golden age" of internal peace and prosperity in the Chinese empire of the Tang dynasty, under the reign of an emperor who actively promoted and participated in the arts. This all changed suddenly and shockingly, beginning with the rebellion of the general An Lu Shan, when all of northern China was devastated by war and famine. Li's poetry as well takes on new tones and qualities. Unlike his younger friend Du Fu, Li did not live to see the quelling of these disorders. However, much of Li's poetry has survived, retaining enduring popularity in China and elsewhere.

photo: ti leaves 
print made from a photograph
(c) (image only) 2010 bruce behnke

Friday, September 18, 2020

a question

Peace and love are just as contagious as anger and fear. Your mindset affects the people around you and perpetually changes the world. The question is what kind of world are you creating?

~Vironika Tugaleva
Ukrainian-born author and poet

photo: lotus pond in Taiwan

ed. note: the lotus has long been regarded as a symbol of enlightenment, purity, rebirth, and triumph over obstacles.  In Buddhism, the journey of the lotus is said to mirror our own spiritual journeys. Mired in suffering, our spirits start out like a lotus bud, tightly closed and buried in deep in the muddy dark. It is only by living through Buddhist virtues and working our way through varied experiences that we can slowly open ourselves to enlightenment. Buddhists also regard the lotus as an important symbol of non attachment: it remains firmly planted in the mud while growing high above the water’s surface, unsullied by the dirt that surrounds it.

© (image only) 2015 bruce behnke

Saturday, September 12, 2020

finding the road

When people look for the road in the clouds
The cloud road disappears
The mountains are tall and steep
The streams are wide and still
Green mountains ahead and behind
White clouds to east and west
If you want to find the cloud road
Seek it within

~Han Shan


ed. note: Hanshan (寒山'Cold Mountain' 9th century)  Little is known of his work, since he was a recluse living in a remote region of China and his poems were written on rocks in the mountains he called home.  In the introduction to his translation of Han-shan's poems, Burton Watson writes, “If the reader wishes to know the biography of Han-shan, he must deduce it from the poems themselves.”

photos: Mt. Horaiji


 Aichi Prefecture, Japan 

(c) bruce behnke 2019

Thursday, September 10, 2020

a door that's always open

In Basho's house

there are no walls,
no roof, floors
or pathway -
nothing to show

where it is,
yet you can enter
from any direction
through a door
that's always open.

You hear voices
though no one
is near you -
you'll listen without
knowing you do.

Time and time
you get up to greet
a stranger coming
towards you.
No one ever appears.

Hours and seasons
lose their names -
as do passing clouds.
Rising moon and setting sun
no longer cast shadows.

Sounds drift in
like effortless breathing -
frogsplash, birdsong,
echoes of your
own footsteps.

It all ceases
to exist in Basho's house -
the place you've entered
without knowing
you've taken a step.

Sit down. Breathe
in, breathe out.
Close your tired eyes.
Basho is sitting beside you -
a guest in his own house.

~  Peter Skyzynecki
    Old/New World: New & Selected Poems

 ed. note: Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉, 1644 – November 28, 1694), was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form

photo: Ofuna, Japan
bruce behnke 2012