Steve Kanji Ruhl

AUBADE zendo at daybreak, loitering full moon over Montague Farm, my lone task to sit on a zafu and scan each breath, note each scurry each subsiding of fugitive notions – slip mutely like a cat burglar into dokusan room, mime response to koan from Mumon’s Gateless Gate – maunder back to cushion – sit breathe sit – crows chortling in willow boughs, light arising, inhale to hara – bell clongs – bow – step out in torrential sunshine – maples’ newly fledged catkins, their blossomed drupes, pallor of saffron-tinted green this dawning May, uncapped fragrance of magnolia petals, lupine, lawn of bluets, dandelions’ supernovas, each second this morning a praisesong: here – and here – and here – Shakyamuni holds the flower ENLIGHTENMENT Discovered a stone chimney in pine woods, high and lone, leaning akimbo, next to the chimney a cellar hole, turbid rock-lined pit scummed with leaves and groundwater like rancid tea, thirty feet from the hole a mortared ring of stones, derelict well pooled with black rain seepage, its cobbles baized green with moss. Joshu said of his satori “I am ruined and homeless.” In hemlocks around that wrecked cabin: free play of sunshine, breeze flowing without hindrance.
ROBIN’S NEST IN DOGWOOD small tureen knit of grass stems, of wizened straw, engineered in splayed prongs of branches among dogwood’s waxen blossoms, wedged snug to ride errant breezes, concealed in leaves and concealing perhaps three turquoise eggs or maybe empty, vessel holding nothing, open to receiving sun or rain, whatever the world in random largesse bestows, this nest Tathagata's begging bowl

Steve Kanji Ruhl has published poems in Inquiring Mind, Prairie Schooner, Oyez Review, Roanoke Review, and elsewhere, and has published two chapbooks of poetry, No Bread Without the Dance and Dead Lift. He's a teacher at the Green River Zen Center in Montague, MA.