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

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

still left


think of all the beauty still left around you

and be happy

~Anne Frank

orchid and vanilla

photo: bruce behnke 2020

Friday, August 21, 2020

the audacity of hope


History says, Don't hope
On this side of the grave...
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

So, hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.

~Seamus Heaney's "The Cure at Troy"
photo: bruce behnke (c) 2011

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

trees 1


Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

Hermann Hesse

Saturday, August 8, 2020


All you who seek the Way,


Do not waste this moment now.

~zen teaching

photo: (c) bruce behnke
all rights reserved
use by permission only