Friday, September 5, 2014

Drinking Tea, I Tasted the Seven Seas.


Photo source: Magnus Bråth
Book source Zen Poetry - Let the Spring Breeze Enter

What magnificent insight ! This week's card brings a verse of Shinkichi Takagashi’s poem titled "Collapse". It is pregnant with the meaning of experiencing immense pleasure in small things. It shows how, in one moment of clarity, Takagashi experienced infinitude in the particular. The only that he had to take out of the way was himself.

     It is interesting that it took me three times reading the poem for me to wake up to its deep beauty and meaning. Maybe it was my prejudice against Takagashi poetry. i have to confess that i cannot understand his verse very much. That makes me to not like it. However, not understanding his verses should not be justification to not like them.

     i do not understand many of Charles Bukowski poems. However, i like them very much. It may be the case that it is easier for me to relate and accept Bukowski writing because, at least  seemingly, he writes from a place of disturbance. However, Takagashi, supposedly writes out of enlightened insight. Because, i cannot relate to Takagashi as much as i relate to Bukowski. Therefore, Takagashi's sounds less understandable and less likeable to me.

     It is such interesting coincidence that Takagasho wrote this poem "Collapse" as an interpretation of the koan to which i referred in my post three days ago. The title of the post is Everybody is in the Closet. The cited koan is: “Describe your face before you were begotten by your parents.” If i was a man of faith, i would believe there was meaning behind such coincidence.

     In that post we had Dogen and Mumon interpretations. Now, we have Takagashi’s amazing input.

     Here is Takagashi’s entire poem:

Time oozed from my pores
Drinking tea
I tasted the seven seas.

I saw in the mist formed
Around me
The fatal chrysanthemum, myself.

Its scent choked and as I
Rose, squaring
My shoulders, the earth collapsed.

I may bring this poem back in a future post to talk about another interesting coincidence.

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