Tassajara, Guest at the Monastery

Five O'clock zazen
Early morning cold
Staring at the blank
Early morning mind steadies
Against its own drowsiness.
Autumn morning breath misting
arhythmically, gradually rhythmically,
In and out
Toward the white

Images come, go,
Colors, sounds;
Itches; feelings
Clear up --
It's only a white

Finally the bell rings.
Stand to bow.
Kneel to bow.
Clap twice.
Stand to bow.
Kneel to bow.
Walking toward the door
Barefoot across the floor
Single file past the dawn.

Master monk delivering
Pearls of wisdom
Whispered one by one
To those ahead of me in the line,
To those monks as they leave the hall.

Finally my turn.
What will it be?
What little insight
Will he give me
To guide me on my path
Bowing, lean my ear close to
Hear the whispered words
Of the head monk:
"You do the dishes

I walk down the wooden stairs
Into the Autumn morning air.

July 27, 1990

<Go Back>