Commentary on Poem "The Letter Z":|
Z the last letter of the alphabet
but Zeus is the foremost King of the gods
while Zephyr the West Wind gathers zinnia
on the Zinfandel Trail for his bride Flora.
Mac OSX Keyboard
with letter Z-key in left corner
"Zeus with Eagle & Lightning
Bolt" (circa 460 BC), Louvre
Zephyr the West Wind gathers zinnia|
on Zinfandel Trail for his bride Flora,
Dr. Zhivago is studying zymurgy on,
fermentation last word in the dictionary.
In Sandro Botticelli's painting
the West Wind at the right, abducts the nymph Chloris, who
changes into his bride Flora, goddess of Spring.
is at Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve, Cupertino,
California. Hiked the 4-mile trail from Picchetti Winery to Stevens Creek County Park
on October 25, 2013 (Photos).
For sake of this "Letter Z" poem, I imagined Zephyr gathering Zinnia for his bride Flora.
Noticed zymurgy (chemistry
of fermentation) as last word in
Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (1963), I had Dr. Zhivago studying
zymurgy, though he never did so in Boris Pasternak's novel or in David Lean's film.
Image Sources: Zephyr & Chloris (wikipedia.org);
Zinfandel Trail (wisdomportal.com);
Dr. Zhivago (vistapointe.net)
Z derived from Hebrew Zayin (arrow)|
the sound of weapon cleaving the air
onomatopoeia zap, zing, zip, zoom,
as Karas plays zither in The Third Man.
Hebrew Zayin means
"arrow" or "sword"
Arrow flying in the air
Italy C17 airmail stamp (3-12-1930)
with 42 strings
Anton Karas plays zither theme in
Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949)
Took awhile to find Robert M. Hoffstein's
A Mystical Key to the English Language (1992) Z is derived from Hebrew
Zayin (arrow), so the onomatopoetic sound of weapons cleaving the air zap,
zing, zip, zoom. Zithers are played by
strumming or plucking the strings. The Alpine zither has 42 strings, and differs from the concert zither primarily in
requiring the addition of an extension to the body of the instrument to support both the longer additional contrabass
strings and their tuners. Anton Karas wrote and performed the score
for Carol Reed's 1949 film noir >The Third Man
which used only the zither. Its haunting "The Third Man Theme ("Harry Lime Theme" starring Orson Welles) topped
international music charts in 1950. Reed met Karas in a Vienna café
playing the zither & asked him to write the film
Image Sources: Zayin
Italy C17 (colnect.com);
Alpine Zither (pickaway.press);
Anton Karas plays zither (youtube.com)
Mr. ZIP sings "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" to use|
ZIP codes, Crazy Wizard warns of hazard
dazzling falling frozen lizards in blizzards,
amazing drizzle wakes up Sleepy & Sneezy.
Double zeroes on Jim Otto, Robert Parrish,|
Zest soap bars, Zing sweeteners, Ziploc bags.
Zebras in zoos zipping by plains of Zaire,
Zepplins flying over Zermatt and Zurich.
Zest Soap Bar
In Best by Number:
Who wore what with distinction (Ron Smith, Sporting News Books, 2006), the best athletes who wore
uniforms with "0" & "00" were selected. Jim Otto was a 255-pound palinfrome: and proud of it. He also could spell his name
with double zeros (0tt0). He wore "00" his Oakland Raiders uniform for 14 years (1961-1974) as their center. Started all 210
of his team's regular-season games, all 13 post-season contests, and 12 all-star games/Pro Bowls over 15 seasons. He helped
Raiders win the 1967 AFL championship. He was elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980. With all due respect to NBA
great Robert Parrish, 00 belongs to Otto. He's the one, who made something out of nothing (page 16). Robert Parrish (00):
From Golden State to Boston to Charlotte to Chicago, Parrish was remarkably consistent in a 00-worthy career covering an
NBA-record 21 seasons & 1611 games. "The Chief" played for 4 championship teams three with Celtics & one with Bulls
(p. 18). Zest soap, Zing sweetners, and Ziploc bags came to mind when rounding up commercial products for this "Z" poem".
Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa becoming independent in 1964 (formerly British proctectorate
Rhodesia. While there are lots of zebras in Zambia, the herd of zebras photo is from Botswana, Zambia's southern neighbor.
Zurich are Swiss cities. Found
to paste into photos of these cities using Photoshop after scaling.
Image Sources: Jim Otto (azquotes.com);
Robert Parrish (pinterest.com)
Zest Soap (zeppy.io);
Zing Sweetners (heb.com);
Ziploc Bags (cvs.com);
Herd of zebras zipping by in Botswana
Zeppplin flying over Zermatt
Zeppplin flying over Zurich
Zebras in Botswana (christophe-courteau.com);
Using Adobe Photoshop,
a Zepplin image was scaled and rotated
for pasting into images of Zermatt
and over Zurich (nationsonline.org)
Zeno's paradox can't outrun the tortoise,|
Gray's Zarathustra wins Ascot Gold Cup.
Zubin Mehta conducts the Ziegfeld Follies,
Zobra the Greek dances at Zabriskie Point.
Zeno's paradoxes are a set of philosophical problems
devised by the Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea (490-430 BC). In the|
paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise, Achilles is in a footrace with the tortoise. Achilles allows the tortoise a head start.
Because there are an infinite number of points, Achilles must reach where the tortoise has already been, he can never
overtake the tortoise. Terence Gray, aka Wei Wu Wei (1895-1986)
was an Irish sage who eroe eight Buddhist/Taoist
books on spiritual enlightenment. I recount
my experience reading his books at the Cornell Library (1968) and Stanford
Library (2008). His horse Zarathustra won the Ascot Gold Cup (June 20, 1957).
Ascot Gold Cup is a Group 1 flat horse
race in Great Britain open to horses aged four years or older. It is run at Ascot over a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs
(4023 meters), and is scheduled to take place each year in June. A scene from Ascot race appeared in
My Fair Lady
(1964) with Audrey Hepburn shouting.
Zubin Mehta is an Indian conductor of Western music. He was conductor
of New York Philharmonic (1978-1991) and music director of Israelic Philharmonic Orchestra (1981-2019).
Follies were a series of elaborate theatrical productions on Broadway in New York City from 1907 through 1931. The
MGM film Ziegfeld Follies (1946) starred
Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse.
Zobra the Greek (1946)
is a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, made into a successful 1964 film starring Anthony Quinn. At the end of the film, Zobra
(Quinn) teaches Basil (Alan Bates) to dance the Sirtaki,
a Greek line dance on the Cretan shore. Zabriskie Point is located
in Death Valley National Park in California, noted for its erosional landscape. It is composed of sediments from Furnace
Creek Lake, which dried up 5 million years ago. Zabriskie Point is also a 1970 film directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
about the 1960s American counterculture. For the sake of this "Z poem", I imagined Zubin Mehta conducting Ziegfeld
Follies and Zobra dancing at Zabriskie Point.
Image Sources: Zeno's Paradox (ibmathsresources.com);
Wei Wu Wei (wisdomportal.com);
Ascot Gold Cup (wkzo.com);
Zubin Mehta (content.time.com);
Zigfield Follies (wikipedia.org);
Zobra the Greek (discogs.com);
Zabriskie Point (ummitpost.org)
Zen breeze: working with zeal in the zone.|
David Bowie always on the razor's edge
playing Ziggy Stardust and Lazarus,
a star-gazer singing blazing music.
|"Zen breeze" may refer "to being in the flow or zone" a mental state whereby a person is fully immersed in an activity|
with energized focus, full involvement, and total joy. It was coined by Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi
(1975) who interviewed painters who were so immersed in their work
that they disregard their need for food, water and even sleep. Many
described their "flow" experiences using the metaphor of a water current carrying them along.
In Wired Magazine (Sept.
1, 1996). Czikszentmihalyi described flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls
away. Time flies. Every action, movement, thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your
whole being is involved, you're using your skills to the utmost." I recall sports moments of athletes in the zone such
as Sandy Koufax pitching his 4th no-hitter, a perfect game
in Chicago (Sept. 9, 1965)
winning 1-0. Another is Carli
Lloyd's three goals to win 2015 Women's World Cup Final
(July 5, 2015).
A third is Jean-Claude Killy winning three
Olympic Gold in
downhill skiing (Feb. 17, 1968).
It just occurred to me "Zen breeze" connects to "Mumonkan #29:"
Neither the Wind or the Flag". Zenkei Shibayama's Zen Comments on the Mumonkan (1974): "The wind was flappping a
temple flag. Two monks were arguing about it. One said the flag was waving, other said the wind was waving. The 6th
Patriarch Hui-Neng said, "It is neither the wind nor the flag that is waving. It is your mind that is waving." Two monks
were struck with awe." A musician who performed with awe was David Bowie who died recently (Jan. 10, 2016). Nile
Rodgers called David Bowie "Picasso of Rock & Roll" (USA Today, 1-19-2016) "I've been in the presence of artistic
greats all my life, and David is in that rarefied league worthy of being called super-genius." Bowie's performance of
"Heroes" on June 6, 1987
at the German Reichstag in West Berlin was considered a catalyst to the eventual fall of the
Berlin Wall (Live Performance, Berlin, 2002).
David Bowie was always on the razor's edge because he was innovative
in his fashion and music, much like a zen breeze, forever fresh (Katha Upanishad 3.14:
"Rise, awake! The path to
Enlightenment is difficult to traverse like a razor's edge.")
Bowie wrote "Heroes" and Berlin Trilogy in 1977-1979 with
It's interesting Hui-Neng's Japanese name is Daikan Eno (638-713 AD), the 6th Zen Patriarch who told the
monks "It's your mind that's waving." Ziggy Stardust is a 1972 David Bowie song as well as the
persona he played as an
unearthy android in the 1970s. Lazarus was a Biblical character that Jesus raised from the dead
(John 11:43-44). David
Bowie's song "Lazarus" was released on January 7, 2016 with the lyrics "Look up here, I'm in heaven, I've got scars that
can't be seen" with a frail Bowie floating above a hospital bed. It was in his album Blackstar released on his 69th
birthday January 8, two days before his death. "Star-gazer singing blazing music" refers to Bowie singing "Starman"
Photo Sources: Zen Breeze
David Bowie singing Starman (mirror.co.uk/);
David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust (theguardian.com);
David Bowie as Lazarus (pinterest.com)
Alchemist Zosimos taught zazen & Zohar
ascending the Z-axis to transcendence
like Franny & Zooey in constant prayer or
Zurbaran's paintings of monks in ecstasy.
Image Sources: Zosimos (greatestgreeks.wordpress.com);
Zosimos of Panopolis
(circa 300 AD) was a Greek alchemist and Gnostic mystic. Zosimos drew upon the
image of the
krater or mixing bowl, a symbol of the divine mind in which the Hermetic initiate was "baptized"
and purified in the course of a visionary ascent through the heavens and into the transcendental realms.
Zazen is sitting meditation in Zen Buddhism. Zazen is the
heart of Japanese Soto Zen Buddhist practice.
The aim of zazen is just sitting suspending all
judgmental thinking, letting words, ideas, images, and thoughts pass by without getting involved in them.
Zohar is the foundational work of
Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah.
It first appeared in the 13th century Spain published by
Moses de León (1240-1305).
Franny & Zooey was written by
(1961), whose interest in Zen Buddhism & Hindu Advaita Vedanta are evident
throughout the book. Franny is reading The Way of the Pilgrim and tells the story
of how a Russian wanderer learns the power of "praying without ceasing" by citing the
Jesus Prayer continuously like a
Zooey offers Franny brotherly love & sagely
advice that leads to her illumination. Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) was a
Spanish painter who is known for his religious
paintings of monks and nuns and still-lifes.:Praying without ceasing" is from
I. Thessalonians 5:16-18
"Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in every thing give thanks." Zosimos appears to be an
Adept who can teach prayers, zazen & Zohar to bring
students to enlightenment.
Raphael's Tranfiguration (vridar.org);
Franny & Zooey (theculturium.com);
Zurbaran's St. Francis in Prayer (artnet.com);
Zurbaran's St. Francis (canvasartdealer.com);
Chaldean immortal Zanoni knew secrets|
of the Rosicrucians, after falling in love,
he became mortal & died at the guillotine
his soul zig-zagged the Zodiac as a comet.
of the Rosicrucians
Zanoni in love
with Viola Pisani
Sydney Carton at Guillotine
Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities
as symbol of universe
Image Sources: Zanoni
Zanoni & Rosicrucians (iberlibro.com);
Zanoni in Love (nocturnalrevelries.com);
1842 novel Zanoni
was recommended to me by Paul Brunton
when I first met him in Switzerland (8-30-1972). The timeless Rosicrucian brother,
Zanoni, cannot fall in love without losing his power of immotality; but he fell in love
with Viola Pisani, a young opera singer from Naples. He marries her and they have a
child. As Zanoni experiences an increase in humanity, he begins to lose his gift of
immortality. He finally dies in the guillotine during the French Revolution. Zanoni's
ultimate sacrifice gave Bulwer-Lytton's friend Charles Dickens an idea on how to end
Comet as symbol of the soul
A Tale of Two Cities
(1859). When Ramana Maharshi died on April 14, 1950, at 8:47 pm, a
comet appeared at
the same time over his hill Arunachala.
The photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson had
witnessed the comet when Ramana died. Caesar's Comet (May 18, 44 BC) was linked
to Julius Caesar's soul who was assassinated two months earlier (March 15, 44 BC).
Sydney Carton at Guillotine (lookandlearn.com);
Zodiac Signs (wellnesstoday.com);
Zzz is the symbol for deep sleep
where we see zero images in the void.
When asked "What is your favorite activity?"
Dalai Lama replied "Sleep" to much laughter.
Zzz symbol for deep sleep
Zero images in the void
Unmanifestation in sleep
Dalai Lama mimicking sleep
Stanford 10-14-2010 Lecture
A series of three Zs making a Zzz
represents sleeping or snoring. Unmanifest
is the Absolute, the pure and|
formless ground of being from which creation and manifestation arise.
After Big Bang,
the universe is manifest (now 13.8 billion years old).
Before the Big Bang, the universe was unmanifest.
The Buddhist and
Hindu cosmology postulate a cyclical universe
similar to modern physics. What's wonderful is that we experience every day,
manifestation when we wake, and
unmanifestation when asleep. In Dalai Lama's Stanford Lecture on 10-14-2010,
a student asked "What is your favorite time of the day?" Dalai Lama replied "Sleep!"
to much laughter and applause. Dalai Lama saying "sleep is the best
meditation" (Latin Trends, April 6, 2015) echoes the sage
Ramana Maharshi "Sleeping is prayer is a very sage remark."
Sleeping or stilling the mind is real prayer. (March 5, 1946) in
Day by Day with Bhagavan (Diary of A. Devaraja
Mudaliar), 1968, page 178. "Sleep is not ignorance, it is your pure state.
Wakefulness is not knowledge, it is ignorance. There is full awareness in sleep, t
here is total ignorance in waking. Your real nature covers both, and extends beyond.
Self is beyond knowledge and ignorance" (Jan. 2, 1937). "Deep sleep is nothing but
the experience of pure being" (Jan. 28, 1939).
Talks with Ramana Maharshi (1968), pp. 274, 580.
Image Sources: Zzz Deep Sleep (commons.wikimedia.org);
Zero Images (wisdomportal.com);
Dalai Lama Mimicking Sleeping (usnews.com);
Ramana Maharshi (wisdomportal.com)
Each day Zen Master Zuigan called "Master"|
and answered "Yes sir!" Then "Be wide awake!"
and "Yes!" Blake said "One must be master"
in Four Zoas "O light, spring up & shine."
Matsushima, Japan (828 AD)
or Gateless Gate
by Thomas Phillips
The Four Zoas (1797)
by William Blake
Spring Cherry Tree
Blooming in Sunlight
Zuigan Calls "Master" is 12th koan in Mumonkan (13th century). We learn more about Zen Master Zuigan in Zenkei|
Shibayama's Zen Comments on Mumonkan (Mentor Book, NY, 1974, pp. 93-100) Master Zuigan Shigen was born
in Binetsu, ordained early in life, was successor of Master Ganto Zenkatsu (828-887). They all loved Master Zuigan
and respected him, and they invited him to Zuigan Monastery as the abbot. He was strict and precise in guiding the
monks and was much admired by everyone. Master Zuigan gave the name "Master" to this ever unnameable Reality.
Master Gutei stuck up one finger; Master Eno called it "Original Face"; Master Rinzai named it "True Man of no
title". All these different names that Masters are compelled to use try to point to one and the same Reality.
Zoas refers to one of the uncompleted prophetic books by the English poet William Blake, begun in 1797. The titular
main characters of the book are the Four Zoas (Urthona, Urizen, Luvah and Tharmas), who were created by the fall
of Albion in Blake's mythology. The quotes "One must be master" and "O light, spring up and shine" is from
The Portable Blake (Edited by Alfred Kazin, Viking Press, 1946, pp. 371, 391).
Image Sources: Zuigan-ji Temple
William Blake (en.wikipedia.org);
The Four Zoas (en.wikipedia.org);
Spring Cherry Tree (wallpaperflare.com);
Peter Y. Chou
Mountain View, 1-28-2016
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email: (3-16-2015, 11-6-2020)