Marla Carew

The Sound of the Sandhill Crane When Mu meets the cranes she meets them where they are at,head erect, beak-nose forward,solemn steps, elegant knees.A dip and a bend, upward flutter,shake out the wings, bow like a lord. But the sound… what is the sound of the Sandhill Crane?Walnuts in a cup at the teahouse.Divination shells and knucklebones.Dice in a drinking gourd.The sound that comes beforethe earthquake or eruption.Stevens’ chorister whose Cprecedes the choir. Mu is trying, so intimate...not there yet.

When Bodhidharma Came for Christmas Eve Having been told that the Incarnation was “a holy mystery,” he was intrigued.Relative and absolute meet every moment,and in vast emptiness no one thingranked above another….but still,his hosts were insistent and took such pleasurein feeding their strange, gruff guest. So many cheeses, nothing he’d seen inthe land of Emperor Wu. Raw salads - unheard of - and seacreatures so far inland yet sweet and fresh.Strong liquor that smelled of a hermitcave fire, so many greedily eaten sweets.After dinner they tucked him into a spareroom filled with a grown child’s things.He slept surrounded by pale dolls,every single one with full eyebrows.He dreamed of his own mother who also fed him hot bread with butterat festival dinners a kalpa ago.Falling asleep, the strange wine twininghis thoughts and memories, he considered that some things wereafter all, at least a little holy.

Marla Carew reads, writes and practices Zen in a Sanbo Kyodan lineage in the American Midwest. Her lifelong interest in East Asian arts, language and literature led her to formally study Chinese at the University of Michigan, and then into multi-lineage Zen practice. Mountain hermits and the tea ladies of koan literature are important ancestors to her, but with no mountains in sight her Zen poetry more often incorporates Michigan’s woods, marshes and water.