This poem was inspired when Denise, a friend from Waverley Writers
& Dick Maxwell's Foothill College Poetry Workshops whom
I've not heard in ten years emailed me on Sept. 12, 2007.
I had not checked my WisdomPortal emails for a month, and was
about to dump the 670 spam emails in the trash yesterday when
I spotted her email. She has moved away from Palo Alto years ago
and writes: "I thought I'd send you a poem I wrote yesterday.
I haven't written a poem in 10 years, hope you enjoy my dusty words".
Her 14-line poem seemed so simple and just sparkled. It brought
back a torrent of memories of Dick's poetry class and how Denise
as well as other poets polished my first drafts of poems and improved
my craft as a poet. After listening to Domenico Zipoli's
KDFC 102.1 FM today at 2:22 pm, it inspired this haiku. I've gathered five earlier haikus
written after listening to Zipoli's Ascension which never ceases to inspire me.
In the tradition of Chinese matching or response poems, I've aligned my poem "Ascension"
to Denise's which begins with "In descending order". Because her scaffolding
is already in place, it was easy to complete this poem.
Tues., Oct. 2, 2007, 2:22 pm
Music to ascend
to the sun and other stars
but also within.
Tues., Sept. 18, 2007, 10:52 am
Ascend by going
within to your crown chakra
thousand petals of light.
Sun., Aug. 19, 2007, 11:07 am|
Such haunting music
you're in the midst of angels
playing in heaven.
Thurs., July 5, 2007, 10:33 am|
Music such as this
helps the soul's ascent into
the inner sanctum.
Sun., June 3, 2007, 12:40 pm
Ascension not up
there somewhere, but down in here
is the real heaven!
Wed., May 16, 2007, 11:32 am|
composed by Jesuit priest
while in Paraguay.
Here's the poem Denise sent me (left) and my matching poem (right):
In descending order
we fall into our
I gather armloads of
poppies. Ineffable joy
returns and nods at
love's perfect placement.
Jupiter awaits. You pluck
a certain silver streak. I
receive. We weave a
wreath to adorn me.
Such deft drawing in
is our pleasure.
In ascending circles
we rise to our spirit.
Darkness slowly turns
to whiteness of light.
We scatter handfuls of
the thousand-petaled lotus
Such joy warms the heart
at love's perfect moment.
Buddha smiles. We receive
his blessings and weave
a wreath from the lotus
blossoms for each of us.
Being mindful is our
secret innermost treasure.
Notes to poem "Ascension":
In ascending circles we rise to our spirit.
The ascending circles refer to the seven
chakras (wheels) of our spinal cord.
We scatter handfuls of the thousand-petaled lotus
This is the crown chakra (Sahasrara)
known as the "thousand-petaled lotus". It is positioned at the top of the head or
above it. It is a symbol for enlightenment and the goal of the yogis, where pure
consciousness is experienced. Scattering the petals symbolize sharing the fruits
of one's enlightenment with others instead of basking in its glory.
When Zen Master Kakuan (12th century) saw the final stage of enlightenment
depicted as an empty circle in the
he added two more scenes "Returning to the Source" (oneness with Nature) and
"The Sage Enters the Market Place" (oneness with humanity). He felt that the sage
should not enjoy his bliss in solitude, but be actively engaged in helping others
to realize their true nature.
Being mindful is our secret innermost treasure.
is one of Buddha's eightfold path to enlightenment.
To be mindful is being attentive to whatever we're doing in the present moment.
When our mind is not occupied with regrets of the past or worries of the future,
we have more energy to concrete on the task at hand and complete it with ease
and efficiency. One who is mindful experiences heaven on earth here and now.
I ascend rocky cliffs
On Sunday, September 16, 2007, I hiked uphill on the Hostel Trail at Hidden Villa
in Los Altos Hills and ascended Elephant Mountain (1200 feet) for a panoramic
view of the Bay Area. Going up Ewing Hill (1250 feet), I looked back and saw
that Elephant Mountain indeed had the shape of an elephant. At that moment my mind flashed
back some 820 years to Lu Hsiang-shan, the
Sage of Elephant Mountain
whose philosophy I adored.
the Sage of Elephant Mountain
Lu Hsiang-shan or Lu chiu-yüan (1139-1193) lived
in Hsiang-shan (Elephant Mountain) in Kiangsi where he
lectured and taught philosophy. He led a simple life and
thousands of scholars gathered to listen to his simple and
straight lectures. In his lecture on righteousness versus profit (1183),
he moved his audience to tears.
climbing this mountain is much easier
than tracking him back in time.
The idea here is space travel is easier than
"The universe is my mind, and my mind is the universe."
Hsiang-shan ch'üan-chi (Complete Works of Lu Hsiang-shan)
"The four directions plus upward and downward constitute the spatial continuum.
What has gone by in the past and what is to come in the future constitute the
temporal continuum. The universe (these continua) is my mind, and my mind is
Section #13, Wing-tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy (1963), p. 579
Lu's idea of the
universe as a space-time continuum predates Einstein's by 720+ years.
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