Cat Wang on Fresh Grass

Occasionally
Master lets me go outside
to nibble the grass.

Centering is his
thing. He holds me in his mind.
The grass tastes good. I

think of Kikaku’s
bedchamber, lovers’ whispers,
burning mosquitoes.

An Old Taoist Goes Out at Night

A memorable
night of getting to and from
the pub. Ice forming

in the darkling air,
ice forming on the path. Face
and foot in contact

with the slippery
transitions. We go on, old
age mindful of Tao.

Master Class

Some days devoted
to finger exercises.
The soul’s arthritis,

fist’s rigor mortis.
‘Rock or palm?’ my master asked.
‘Contemplative or

closed?’ ‘Open,’ I’d say.
But you can’t will a poem.
Perhaps tomorrow.

Cat Wang on Master’s Moods

I watch him staring
into space. Sacred Mountain
looms in his silence.

I once asked him, ‘What
color is it?’ Cats can’t see
the bright color wheel

of the human world.
It turns and turns. He said no-
thing. I walked away.

Cynic

Over the years I’ve
noticed that life-saving things
pass on with the years.

Powerless things grab
me. Children at hopscotch, trees
asleep in winter.

I say thanks to Time
for the taste of snowflakes and
the sun’s touch in Spring.

In my case, it took
a whole life to reach zero.
Things are looking up.

First Snow

The widower in
me stares out at the first snow
in disbelief. Start

over? It’s only
January. Sparrows shrill
in pyracantha,

drunk on red berries.
So could this be the selving
of Godself? Just now

I recall the time
I opened to a poem’s
shrill piping of plenty.

Dialectical Hymn

Leisurely Sabbath.
Thanks to our Origin we
are free to praise You

in Your nothingness.
Down deep, we feel free to
be our finite selves.

In our finitude
and otherness we sense your
big love and our death.