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i remember lying ill in bed on my fifth birthday. i was lying in my parents' big double bed in our bungalow in Thornhill and the party celebrations were going-on without me. It was a large double bed that took-up most of the room. i think a fire had been lit in the grate. It was very cold. February was always very cold...icicles from gutters etcetera. The bedroom door had been left open and i could see the light from the dining-room opposite. There was a lot of noise and the party was going-on without me. On reflection, there would only have been my parents, my older brother, Christopher and Uncle Dennis. Uncle Dennis brought me a small black-and-white panda. And i was somewhat comforted to have it nestled beside me in bed. i cannot remember any other gifts. i remember a cake had been made, and doubtless other things, but i was very hot and poorly and consumed neither food nor drink. It was impossible to eat or even sit-up. i cannot remember anyone fussing over me. The party was going-on without me. It is the only birthday party of mine i have any recollection of. And it is 60 years since then. It is a little after midnight and my 66th year is dawning. Maybe i will stay awake the whole 24 hours of my 65th birthday - (february 1st). In case there is a party, i would not want to miss it and have it go-on without me. But i will endeavour to attend to this present, wonderful moment and not miss a bite of what may be on offer...without expectation.

Before zazen this evening, i lit candles near my Buddha - something i do not ordinarily do - occasionally i light incense. While sitting, it did come to mind, as to why i actually lit the candles. i really do not think i need to "set an atmosphere" for my zazen practice. More and more - influenced by the writings of Toni Packer - it is enough just to sit quietly. No bowing. No special posture. No timing of sitting periods...But afterwards i was moved to make a little film...

5 POEMS - monday morning - 5am

TED ENSLIN'S WORDS on my mind over the last 48 hours of this last week-end of January, on the cusp of entering my 66'th year. It would seem to be an affront to cool skin, to allow anything more than a weak, winter sun to "heat-up" this house in this "space" that i am in = "I tend to congratulate a life, that lived, is harder than it need be."

Flowering winter jasmine in a courtyard in Abbotsbury ---Just a few small yellow flowers remind me of my parent's garden in Thornhill many years ago --- What has become of them in the falling rain on a warm winter's night like this, as i awake and immediately think of them? and am warmed by the falling rain on a night like this...on a night like this...

LAURA SPEAKS

Reworking a 40 year-old Poem - after Gary Snyder

untitled poem

HERBS, HANDS and HEALING

THE MARY OLIVER POEM - (24 November 2008)

SOME GIRLS

TEN BOWLS after KAKUAN

TEN TENETS & A KOAN FOR THE COOK

...the justlit guttering candleflame almost strobelike at the beginning of zazen this evening...Soon candle and i settledown together...slow and steady...the mind flickers...flickerings of my mother's eyelashes...against mine...against my cheeks...Was i the child?......Il me semble (it seems to me) that life is filled with such flickerings of memory...eye to eye...mother to child...gossamer flickerings on cheeks thru childhood...then and now...It seems to me...it seems to me (Il me semble...il me semble) that we sit a lifetime with these flickerings...these flickerings......

Just sucking thru straw at carton of chocolate soya milk...Snapping between sips at oblivious passersby on this beautiful moistgrey afternoon...Sitting on a bench on Weymouth's esplanade, it's cloudygrey and a light mizzle starts to infuse the air and the girl on her bike is longgone...it's two o'clock...