Wednesday, November 21, 2007

theology of the mountain gods

bad spirits descend
war against us from the northeast
so they say
we humans need protection
against ineffable malevolent beings

in Kyoto of old the mountains
blocked the path
of demons;
they shielded from attacks
of the unnamable evil ones

no temples on Mount Baker
hoary father
thou my glacial ancestor
you thunder in silent thunders
in the northeast

over Port Susan Bay you,
my volcanic kinsman
are you my god?
many gods in the Cascades?
on which mountain shall I worship?

on the upper air
spiraling up to the nimbus
eagles ascend
circle in widening gyre
crow flies straight, my totem

--Ross Bender

The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

photo by Futaba

Father had never told me that the real Golden Temple was shining in gold, or anything of the sort; yet, according to Father, there was nothing on this earth so beautiful as the Golden Temple. Moreover, the very characters with which the name of the temple was written, and the very sound of the word imparted some fabulous quality to the Gold Temple that was engraved on my very heart.

--Kinkakuji, Yukio Mishima (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, tr. Ivan Morris

Saturday, November 03, 2007

at todaiji

everybody`s posing for pictures --

school kids, the giant Buddha,
Tibetan nuns in their winter wraps,
the deer

wide-eyed deer with the old souls,
nuzzling, and munching senbei

I pose, carelessly gesturing with my papers

suddenly, inexorably
this doe has eaten my map

--Ross Bender