You Came to Hear Poetry?
So, you came to hear poetry… from an old man?
I bet not!
So here we are, what shall we do?
I want you to know my life,
As I want to hear your story, these stories as crazy as they might seem
Is who we are…
They say, poets touch the soul, speak from the heart,
Do you mean cover up reality or speak to the truth ?
I suppose they do all that, I don't know
Oh well, what shall we poet about this evening, this morning, whenever?
The leaves are falling or the trees are budding all over,
now in beautiful colors or the buds are coming out,
there is no “don’t ask, don’t tell “ in nature
How was that?
The people are divided not over issues but unfounded fears and even hatred of race….class, some
One different that me, or you
Yes, the poet is the prophet in whatever age or time,
An alarm clock going off when it is not set too
A call to action when we are tired, worn down and hopeless
In these times what is it we need to be reminded of, these times of fear, violence against each other, nations and faiths…
Like the trees, the leaves, the falling the dying, the new plants in the spring even new trees everywhere
We are reminded by the poet a voice crying….
WE ARE ALL INTERCONNECTED, THAT'S IT, INTERTWINED, CONNECTED WITH ALL PEOPLES, ALL BEINGS, ALL CREATION.
THE LEAVES THE FALLING THE CHANGE OF COLOR THE SLEPPING EARTH THE NEW SPRING FLOWERS, THE HOPE….THE CYCLE BRINGS HOPE!
Cycle you say, you mean what comes around comes around, I have heard that bull shit all my life, there must be another path…
I walked through the woods today, can you remember the sounds of leaves and needles under your feet, a wonderful sound and smell, a natural incense, without the smoke, just the air filled with harvest, or spring, a strange kind of dying and coming to life again, a cycle we are all a part of…
Even though some of those religious nuts want us to believe some have it others don't, we will come by this way again, not the same person or even the same form…
Many life times prepare us for this moment, not of wishes or dreams, but the reality of this moment.
Well, now you WILL hear the poet in me….hang on….
Cold Metal on the throne
Cold metal on the bottom
That's what it was, no toilet seat, just shinny metal
Cold, and strange
But that's how our inmates sit on the throne
More inmates than any other country in the world
Cold metal on the bottom, that's it
It was a strange experience, not because there was no toilet seat,
My poetry teacher gave us an assignment
Go for a walk, sit somewhere for awhile
Then write some things down
I do that all the time, but not on cold metal on the bottom
I was sitting in meditation with the men, in the chapel, in the prison,
Nature called, when you are my age you learn to answer in the moment not
Some time soon….get it?
The chaplain gave me some choices, I guess because I'm not an inmate
So I entered the door with a sign on it, inmates only
There it was a metal throne with out a seat
I paused only a second, nature was yelling by now
And so I sat on the cold metal with no seat
Teacher, you ask, how did I feel?
Hm, relived and free…who needs a seat...just cold metal on the bottom
Peace all the Time! Right?
What a day, What a moment
Thanks and praise to all who made this possible
As we cry out in this moment,
the pain of living,
The pain of tsunami, of judgment instead of grace…
Rejecting some, welcoming others, and not all…
When did Jesus reject anyone?
Why do we?
Called to love, bring justice and peace to our world…
Yet so many are left out
My neighbor, a stranger,
Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu or Jain
Lutheran or Baptist
Where is the separation,
In our hearts and souls
Or in our
Doctrine and interpretation…?
A word from the sutra:
Never think that I believe I should set out a "system of teaching" to help people understand the way. Never cherish such a thought. What I proclaim is the truth as I have discovered it and "a system of teaching" has no meaning because the truth can’t be cut up into pieces and arranged in a system. -Diamond Sutra
For me, my clan, it is the heart and soul that welcomes
All else is created to separate
Not to deepen…
I am here today
To empower the heart
So that Peace can run down like a river…
Walk with me
But only from the heart and soul of your being
Not the things that separate us
Because we are all different
Oh well, what a moment, this one,
Many thanks, but now I must warn you…
My sisters and brothers on the path…
Here comes the next one…how will we receive it…
How will receive the human being who comes down the path to meet us?
Better than a thousand useless words is one word that gives peace.
Ground Zero 8pm January 9, 2002 at Mrs. Fields
The eyes, the deep sadness
the tired people
they have built a stand now, it is easier to see, less.
It is time to move on,
but to what?
how do we appropriate this kind of event as a community and country.
a plane fell in Pakistan today, Americans loss their lives, the violence continues
when will we learn
what will we learn
what will we do
do, do, do, be, be, act like?
I have sat, I have let go, but it is still there
time to close
time to let go
time to ...........
this is a burial ground, and we as white folks have never been able to handle burial ground well. We build shopping malls and parking lots over the bones of ancestors we move them when we need the space.
We cannot move this burial ground, a large ground of souls to remind us of our human journey......
time to close
time to go
time to let go
time to .........
where do I want to be buried?
these folks never had the freedom to ask this....ashes to ashes, I want to be buried in the winds of the universe.....maybe Japan, maybe here, does it matter?
the danger is, letting this go will help us forget it like so many other life changing transforming horrific tragic events....yet each of those moments are remembered as a moment of grace, we cannot forget.
time to close Mrs. Fields
time to go
time to let go
Koshin at Jesus Place….Gobind Sadan…
Koshin at Jesus Place….Gobind Sadan…
cattle, sacred yet thirsty
a dog, brown and thin
singing to me in the cool hazy morning breeze
what does he say this day?
let the spirit move Koshin....
let her move.
The eyes, shine in the night
leaning against the stone wall,
"what are you doing here?, Koshin"
the eyes asked,
They know the dryness of India,
the road, the field.
"I am on the path," I answered.
The eyes answered, softly…
" keep moving, it is a path that does not end..."
Attending a Memorial Service…
I am not sure I knew this person
And she is not here,
Only a Picture
On a table with a Candle
& some holy book.
Why am I here?
I don’t need to be reminded of my own end, do I?
Where did she go?
How did she Go?
Maybe the Priestess will tell us…maybe…
Only a bunch of mythical words again.
No answers, again, just stories…maybe stuff
Where will I go?
How will I go?
You want to come?
Poems of Spring by ko shin, Bob Hanson April 24, 2009
sing ancient texts
fresh water falls
time to leave
autumn leaves falling
new life, old journey
no map, same path
no end, only rest places
the sun always comes
the leaves fall
the creatures sleep
life is grace
An orange sun sets
everyone is mine
red pork chop
ha, what a feeling...
From our cells come freedom - Mandela
From our own Cells, comes Freedom
I stood there, an extremely hot afternoon on this Island off Cape Town SA,
transfixed by the place, the cell.
Its contact with my life, living thousands of miles from it…
Nelson Mandela’s jail cell, decades in a cell,
working in the suffering sun of Robins Island,
digging in the salt mines
Far back in the cave, a university was created, the students
Reformers, revolutionaries, the people’s models, leaders…
later, with bad eye sight, weak legs, a heart of gold…
Walking to freedom never looking back
How do we get out of our jail cells?
Maybe it is how do we act in freedom from our cells?
Walk the Path
Walk the Path…
What does it mean to walk the path?
What does it mean to be compassion?
Not dominating but compassionate
Not fear, but acceptance
Not exclusion but inclusion
Not war but non-violence, peace
Not hate but love
Not judgment but open and honest conversation
We no longer need to be lost, but our found,
Is this my karma, or, the Path?
The answers, no not answers but the moment
is where I experience all of this and more…then…
Move to the next one, free, open, it’s just a breath away…
I saw it...
I saw it
a fat robin, resting in the naked bush
how satisfied she looked
so filled with the worms and the bugs of the earth
I sit, also over weight, fat you say
wondering, knowing what I know, feeling what I feel,
how does one act with skillful means
so that justice will flow like a river, everywhere,
when national issues, interest, fear and even hatred block justice
stop all peoples from being free, safe and loved.
Oh fat and happy robin, let us learn from you
as the bush fills out, green, and as spring brings new life,
may this world be filled with hope...may you find hope, somewhere...
ko shin, Bob Hanson
1 shot, 2 kills
“1 Shot, 2 Kills”
Compassion at its best, You say
Respect at it best?
No, killing at its worst!
Remember the day when one might say,
"one of my best friends is Negro?"
Or maybe today, "one of my best friend is Muslim, Jewish, or Gay?"
I thought at first it was a statement of care
Then realized it was a statement of tolerance
Ok, I will accept you , but I know I am better,
Or my faith is the only one, or, now I cannot be bothered
By our differences.
1 Shot, 2 Kills”
The tee-shirt of a soldier
Where could be anywhere these days, right?
The news article said:\
“1 Shot, 2 Kills” reads one t-shirt routinely worn by IDF soldiers. It depicts a pregnant woman covered by a bulls-eye. Another t-shirt for infantry snipers depicts “the inscription ‘Better use Durex,’ next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him.” Soldiers wear these shirts only with the approval of their platoon commanders.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com .
How do we work for peace?
Within or without?
How does one tolerate the wall that cuts you off from your farm?
How does one tolerate the wall and the nasty check points
That cut you off form family, medical services, friends, life itself…
In the name of Yahweh the Chaplains in the IDF yelled at the
Troops as they readied for battle, quoting the Torah…a righteous war
Fighting with bullets, rockets and bombs, many made in or paid for by
the United States Foreign Policy…$10,000,000 a day they say...
"1 Shot, 2 Kills”
Tolerate not respect
Human life is cheap when you hate or live in fear
Hear people Oh people of Israel& the Universe,
The world will not tolerate this killing-fields in the name of defense or peace…
"1 Shot, 2 Kills”
This muse will not finish until there is peace
We do not learn from the past or the present
We think not of the future
We can live in fear or hope
Hatred or understanding
Tolerance or love
"1 Shot, 2 Kills"
Your call and mine..
Trails of smoke
trails of smoke
falling into my village
not the trails of angels but of violence
against my family, my neighbors even those I do not get along with
trails of smoke from the rockets
killing the innocents
trails of smoke in the sky
run for cover
pray for peace, yes, peace
and maybe quiet...
Lighthouse, who looks for you now…?
lighthouse, old as you are
who looks for you now?
who can you guide?
who can you save?
the moment tells you
we are the guides
we are those who serve all
the light from your house
reminds us, who we are.
It is that sense on interconnectedness with all people, with all nations and with all paths of the spirit that brings new life.
Everyone needs to be part of the conversation, all at the table when working for peace and justice.
How do we, as people who have been a part of historical religious institutions respect, honor and walk with all people who are deeply spiritual beings outside the context we know and think is our spirituality?
How do we renew and transform deadly old religious structures, to be the spirit force they are meant to be?
Peace! How can we bring all views to our table, the table of the universe, and honestly broker, empower peace when our governments and religious leaders often block this conversation?
The elimination of racism is a primary battle that still needs to be fought. It reminded me, nothing has changed. What are we going to do? Connected to this struggle the issues of inclusion in terms of gender, sexual orientation, age, and those challenged by body and mind.
Wake Up These are times, we are the people.
Finally what you see is what you got...
telling your own story
life is a journey
when are you settled?
maybe only when it ends,
moves to a new place.
who am I? more than a job
or an address or phone #,
who am I?
what you see is what you got!
Deep Rivers, running through our lives….
Deep rivers, run through our lives
Often we do not know the source or the ending
Our spiritual practice is a way we ford the rivers of our consciousness
Or we build bridges
But so often we destroy the bridges
Empower a tree to be taller, thicker, stronger
There are more than one family of roots in a large beautiful tree
The diversity of our spiritual journey
The many part of the Path
Give us hope and life
How can we deny our interconnectedness with all nature and the universe
Yet, we act as though we control the earth and all its gifts
Now is the time
Now is the time
This moment, is when we must transform our ways
Hope and Peace
koshin early May 12,2008
Poems on a snowy winter night
I am sure
I saw this flower
peeking out of snow, deep and cold
no, it was my dream, my wish...
peace is always seeing the beautiful flower
peeking out at you & I saying,
a child keeping the flies off his head
hungry, hot, lonely
what is he waiting for?
compassion, something to eat,
hope, maybe he does not know that word
what is there to hope for....
as I gaze on him,
the pictures from Gaza, today
and I wonder, where has human compassion and love gone?
in meditation, contemplation, chanting and prayer
we can send hope to this small boy and all in places of violence
that there might be peace... we have the power...
this bird knows,
knows that the snows melt
the bushes, the flowers, the earth & sky
supplies her needs...
why do we worry, I sometime wonder,
be quiet now, for just a few moments
listen and you will hear
the compassion of the universe....
it is yours, and mine...
021009 where did that come from...
Where do these things come from…
Growing older, must be like moving into a state of Vipassana
A deeper form of meditation where everything you have filed elsewhere comes up…
Maybe that is where the stories of wisdom telling come from throughout the creation's history.
I don't know I just feel it, like the deep rumblings of the tummy soon after the meal you could have skipped…
It was after 8:30 in the morning, there was commotion in the outer office,
I walked out in the room filled with emotion, the radio was on, my staff was crying,
A plane had hit the towers in NYC,
My step son, Marcy's kids were in Manhattan, are they safe we asked without speaking?
We felt as a nation, a world, what we all feel at the death of a child, a baby, a loved one…
A emptiness in the bottom of our lives…
Where did this come from, a mid-winter, sunny and warmer than usual day in 2009?
It's there my sister, it's there my brother, it's there…
Always reminding us of our journey,
Of our compassion,
Of our hope…
May the question is not, where does this stuff come from?
But, what else is there, where ever it is?
We are all "dhamma brothers (&Sisters)" *
Life as it continues will surprise us, not just memories, but who we are,
Thank you, whoever I am thanking…can I rest from this stuff for a while? No!
"I am the spirit of where it came from, and I have something to tell you now…"
A sudden something, the morning of February 10, 2009 by ko shin, listen!
*Dhamma Brothers, is a Documentary recently released on Donaldson Prison in Alabama, where they
Used the Vipassana Program, a ten day silent retreat with 20 some inmates and the program now continues there and in other prisons. Worth seeing. I have a copy. Check out www.dhammabrothers.com Peace!
We search and pray for balance
In all things in our lives
in the life of our world.
Peace is all we search for
even when it seems impossible
when will we learn?
when will we learn?
I often find the quite of the place I dwell,
almost unreal, so quiet, so beautiful,
when others must look out for violence entering their space...
where is our balance as a world?
leaders bragging they broke the laws of human rights, tortured others in our name,
and we do nothing, our new leaders seem to do nothing...
we see it happening the we argue about arguing
when will we learn?
where is the balance?
oh, it is here, where? you ask
search in your heart, that light, the Buddha within
yes, the balance comes, the peace begins with me,
with you, with the Sangha, the community of spirit,
whatever the path...begin to live your path for, in, peace...
early morning, Jan. 13, 2009, tons of light, quiet snow, and the winds of peace, ko shin
Dozing off I heard a monk…say
Let me respectfully remind you,
life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken. Take Heed.
Do not squander your life.”
(from the evening service of Zen Buddhism)
One with all
bombs only increase the hatred of people
brings this moment
a quote that speaks…
"There are always people who dare to seek on the margin of society, who are not dependent on social acceptance, not dependent on social routine, and prefer a kind of free- floating existence under the state of risk. And among these people, if they are faithful to their calling, to their vocation, and to their message from God, communication on the deepest level is possible. And the deepest level of communication is not communication but communion. It is wordless. It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dear brothers, we are already one. (Speaking to a conference of monks from many religions.) But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are."
(Asian Journal1968 p.308) Thomas Merton
On a desert highway in India:
people working, pulling, carrying
third world, no, the world
processions of men, carrying colorful
blessing the road?
who knows, spirituality, a path, everywhere
I feel a strange kind of soulful oneness
These poems were created by ko shin, Bob Hanson, a poet, a sage, an aging monk living for justice and peace for the entire universe. Please join on the journey. Wake up!