Saturday, April 16, 2005

picnics and poetry

I was outside today enjoying the wonderful spring sunshine with Beric and Rowan, my four-year-old sons. We had a picnic together in our wild front yard, under the cedars and Douglas Fir--sitting on a bright yellow table cloth watching the bees, the moss, the Oregon Grape flowers, the fiddleheads uncurling...

I wish I had a digital camera so I could give you pictures...instead I will give you one of my favourite poems by Ryokan.

First Days of Spring

First days of spring--the sky
is bright blue, the sun huge and warm.
Everything's turning green.
Carrying my monk's bowl, I walk to the village
to beg for my daily meal.
The children spot me at the temple gate
and happily crowd around,
dragging at my arms till I stop.
I put my bowl on a white rock,
hang my bag on a branch.
First we braid grasses and play tug-of-war,
then we take turns singing and keeping a kick-ball
in the air:
I kick the ball and they sing, they kick and I sing.
Time is forgotten, the hours fly.
People passing by point at me and laugh:
"Why are you acting like such a fool?"
I nod my head and don't answer.
I could say something, but why?
Do you know what's in my heart?
From the beginning of time: just this! just this!

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