Old Myoko-ni

Old Myoko-ni

never came this way

the beds no doubt too damp the track too steep

and too much laughter. No doubt the kyosoku not long enough -

yet the gaunt pine stands sentinel. No nonsense cooking here

these hearts as empty bowls lined up for washing.


Doing their own practice in their own way -

mist laden groves,

cloud valley, village invisible. The bell rings a rainwet hand collecting sitters in still rows

tap - tap - precipitating silences.


Monks in mufti

adorn this quiet refectory

lifting spoons to silenced tongues dim light at noon requiring candles serving an extraordinary soup

bowl by bowl

the measured ladle.

In the library books

stand motionless in their places. Outside the Welsh monsoon greys the valley drab.

The sound of scribbling copies some ancient words.


Few farmers come up this hill

the sheep take care of themselves, scan the empty valley

hear the tumbling stream returning cloud waters seeking again a distant sea.


Too high for Kingfishers too wet for skylark flight

Wrens like mice run below the ferns mushrooms fairy circling scant grass thinking of soup.


Today silence hangs around these yards of meditation,

rain drops purl from the old roof. No wind - heavy leaves

breathe - sheep stand still

in their wet wool, water keeps the flies grounded.