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NEAR PROVIDENCE 10/5/20

Sunday afternoon.

I give myself a pedi-

cure and take a walk.

Low tide. Sun on the

mudflats. The horizon bright

with the sound of geese.

As Zhuangzi says, this

is also a that. Nothing

compares with the Il-

lumination of

the Obvious. Haiku and

Zen go together.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 26.1.21

There is a moment

as it is about to snow,

when flakes float not fall,

weightless, not down but

around. It touches your cheek,

you flash back to your

last innocent kiss,

first brush with contingency,

the cold hot instant.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 25.1.21

In weak midwinter

light ducks add irredescent

green and raucous song

to the empty cove.

Others like me wait here in

hope the ducks will show.

On the horizon

as the day darkens we hear

a godlike laughter.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 24.1.21

Even winterized,

the masts and shrouds sing along

when there’s a good wind.

The docks rock. So with

nothing to look forward to

but good windy days

sing with the chorus:

with nowhere to go we may

as well sing along.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 23.1.21

In the tearoom we

debate winter coats: puffers,

Patagonia fleece.

On the long walk home,

a cold wind proves reason’s

futility; I

watch swans swim around, small heads

in and out of it.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 22.1.21

There is poetry

in prose: Sato’s translations;

tenuous, wiry,

late Hill. Though today

is cold and dark, two swans show

up in the cove. This

happens: contingent,

beautiful, a shock to life’s

chiaroscuro.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 21.1.21

Sexual grunts, roars

and so on make good poems

some say. I’ve read them.

Primal, they say. To-

day icy milky skies re-

flected in the Bay

recall Du Fu’s still

mind as well as the white fire

of her shining thighs.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 20.1.21

I walk slowly to-

day. Today our tyrant has

flown into exile.

I enjoy the cold.

From dark clouds drift single flakes.

They melt on my face

and mix with warm tears.

Freedom comes and goes but so

do apple blossoms.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 19.1.21

The appearance of

the winter sun at day’s end

is worth waiting for.

To the gray water

and things across the water

absolutes of time

and space no longer

matter. You can see Basho’s

white chrysanthemum.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 18.1.21

My winter tanka

notebook on infinity

(open, immanent,

whole) includes how rak-

ing sunlight animates a

squirrel in the road—

its soft belly, o-

therwise not moving. Also

notes on clouds (of course),

immense, crystalline,

racing over the village,

going nowhere fast.

NEAR PROVIDENCE 17.1.21

A break in the clouds.

The gulls shine in the steep air

over the Bay and

on the rough surface.

It happens countless times in

the life of a gull.

It can move a man

to tears. It’s hard sometimes to

not reach conclusions.