Thursday, March 3, 2011

This Empty Day - Reprise

"Ikkyu, a fifteenth-century Japanese Zen master and a fine (and strikingly fearless) poet himself, laughingly ridiculed his fellow poets, knowing as he did the distractions and temptations that might come with literary aspirations. His "intimacy with demons" is not to be seen in the light of the occidental romance with alienation, however. In Japanese art, demons are funny little guys, as solid as horses and cows, who gnash their fangs and cross their eyes. Poetry is a way of celebrating the actuality of a nondual universe in all its facets. Its risk is that it declines to exclude demons. Buddhism offers demons a hand and then tries to teach them to sit. But there are tricky little poetry/ego demons that do come along, tempting us with suffering or with insight, with success or failure. There are demons practicing meditation and writing poetry in the same room with the rest of us, and we are all indeed intimate. It didn't really trouble Ikkyu."
- Gary Snyder
Just One Breath: The Practice of Poetry and Meditation

Gary Snyder (born May 8, 1930) is an American poet (often associated with the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance), as well as an essayist, lecturer, and environmental activist (frequently described as the "poet laureate of Deep Ecology"). Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His work, in his various roles, reflects an immersion in both Buddhist spirituality and nature. Snyder has translated literature into English from ancient Chinese and modern Japanese. For many years, Snyder served as a faculty member at the University of California, Davis, and he also served for a time on the California Arts Council.

Gary was there. So was I. 1967.

There are people on the planet who have to be busy or else they start to itch. I am not one of them.

This Empty Day

This day is empty,
Not even my poem is
Here in this one day.

I am at rest, nothing done.
I lie so still my cat looks
For me without hope.

I watch the light slowly change,
The motes drifting down.

December 28, 2008 12:03 PM
First posted April 21, 2009


  1. Good one, I don't know if I got IT, but I got something.

  2. G'mawnin. I got the wrong blood test yesterday, turns out. Have to go get another this morning. The vampires.

  3. Sorry to hear about the blood test. Treat yourself to another dust-mote day when it's done, I love that poem!

  4. (((Lucy)))

    I would do your bidding if I could. Instead I am at work trying to pump out production as best I can. The other blood suckers!

    I have to work to be able to afford the lab work.

    I am so done except for I have to.

  5. :) i am trying to leave a message, but i guess i am out of practice, let see if this one takes

  6. Yes!
    Hi Christopher!
    Happy that you came to me on this sunny day. And here i am filling the emptiness in your poem, with my chattering

  7. I like the part about Ikkyu. I never had it heard quite that way.
    I am dancing with my demons these days, don't know how to write it all down like your poet there. But this inspires me;
    demons are funny little guys, as solid as horses and cows, who gnash their fangs and cross their eyes.
    and before i get to it, (well i was actually painting, not writing) i will read the rest of your post

  8. Well i don't see the connection with that gary. But me too i like lazy days, although this is not one of them, i am busy with doing nothing of great importance in the societial sense as it seems, because i do really believe our being able to be at peace with nothing is of great benefit to world peace....hmmm what do you think?
    are you there?

  9. Jozien, thanks for writing. The Gary connection is the San Francisco Human Be In on Jan 14, 1967, sixty days after my entire life changed. It didn't have to have connection with the poem. There was this connection with the poet. I found the poster and thus the date by pure accident. We hitched up to San Francisco and I was nearly busted with what was in those days a reasonably large amount of dope on me. We got away with it and I ended up at the park, and later at a dance and still later on the beach doing a tribal thing with sticks and logs. The next night I stayed with the Diggers, and came home on Monday.

    At one point I was in a hall listening to Tim Leary dressed all in white. I forget who I danced to, what band was playing, but I was playing my body as a dancing instrument and I know that people around me were impressed. That was Jan 14, 1967 for me.

    The other connection, Buddhism.

    I love you, good friend.

  10. that is a wonderful story! thank you love.

  11. You fooled your cat. Ha! Now that takes talent.

  12. I was helped by her indifference, of course. She has passed on now, as you may remember. I have a spare cat. He lives in the neighborhood and now with me part time, Hell Boy hisses at me when I put him out.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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