Now and then

Here’s a response to my “On the Road” prompt.  It breaks all the rules and is not so much a haibun as a hyphen – a pause between one state and another.

The prompt:

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

and

“I set out on a journey of a thousand leagues, packing no provisions. I leaned on the staff of an ancient who, it is said, entered into nothingness under the midnight moon.” -Matsuo Basho, The Record of a Weather-exposed Skeleton – his first travel travel journal.

https://ontheroadprompts.wordpress.com/

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Jack was standing beside a pile of battered suitcases on the pavement when an old Japanese man wandered up.   They got chatting.   The older man introduced himself as Mat.

“I had a feeling I’d catch up with you along the road,” Jack said.  “It’s that kind of road.”

“Do you know where we are exactly?”   Mat asked.  “I seem to have lost my bearings.”

“I think we’re on the astral planes,” Jack said.  “I’m pretty sure we’re dead,”

“I thought that might be the case,” Mat mumbled.  “We must be wandering the bardos.   Some call it the 4th dimension – the realm of thought forms, conditioned responses and old cultural ideas.”

“That makes sense,” Jack mused.   “I’ve been stuck in an idea for a while now.  I’m waiting for Godot but I don’t think he’s going to show up.”

“He always did have his own agenda,” Mat said dismissively.   “Do you want to wander on with me for a bit.  I could do with some company.”

Jack agreed and they set off together.   Around a bend in the road they came across an old Japanese style inn.  “I remember that inn,” said Mat.    “I wrote a haiku about it after a bad night there on my journey  to the Deep North.”
Fleas, lice,
a horse pissing
by my bed
– Matsuo Basho

Jack laughed.  “That’s a good one,” he said.  “I wrote something similar myself once”.
I went in the woods
to meditate –
It was too cold
– Jack Kerouac

Mat smiled and the pair wandered on reminiscing about their journeys and sharing haiku.  As they passed through a particularly scenic valley Jack asked, “Do you ever wish you could go back to the physical?   Sometimes I’d really like a drink.   The thought form of  bourbon ain’t the same as the real thing.”

“I’m always travelling,” Mat reflected as he quoted his last haiku.
Travelling, sick
My dreams roam
On a withered moor.
 – Matsuo Basho

“Sometimes I still feel the pull of the physical,” he said, “but these days I’m striving to get to the next level.   The 5th dimension.”

“Yes, it’s calling me too,” said Jack.  “I’m just not sure of the way.”

Mat straightened up and the years fell away.   “You open your heart and follow your joy,” he said with authority.

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Travelling Light

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This is my response to my “On the Road” prompt  The Road is Life

This week I have used quotes from both Jack Kerouac and Matsuo Basho as inspiration.

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”

― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

and

“I set out on a journey of a thousand leagues, packing no provisions. I leaned on the staff of an ancient who, it is said, entered into nothingness under the midnight moon.”

-Matsuo Basho, The Record of a Weather-exposed Skeleton – his first travel travel journal.

To find out more please visit https://ontheroadprompts.wordpress.com/
The prompts are offered as suggestions for creative exploration.   There is no need to feel intimidated by the strict rules of traditional haiku.   Please feel free to experiment.

 

On the edge of emptiness

Sally of Lens and Pens has decided to stop hosting her mobile photography challenge.   While I will be sad to see this challenge finish I can certainly understand why Sally has decided to quit.   Hats off to her for keeping the challenge going for so long.   Although it’s only a couple of weeks since I started up my haiku challenge site I’m already scratching my head as to the form my next challenge will take.   I feel exhausted already but that’s probably due to other stuff that’s going on in my life.   It’s been a very stressful and demanding week.

While I have only been a sporadic contributor to Sally’s challenges I’ve always enjoyed seeing the photos others submit and reading Sally’s informative essays.  Here’s my contribution to the last challenge.   Once again my phone played tricks when I attempted to take photos in the local Botanic Gardens.    I’ve been reading about the Buddhist concept of emptiness and how it is expressed in Chinese Ink Brush painting.  The translator of Chinese poetry, David Hinton wrote of ink brush painting – “it seems landscape is emerging out of emptiness, each form seething with the energy of transformation as it hovers on the verge of vanishing back into emptiness”.   The photo I have chosen goes some way towards expressing this idea.

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Perhaps my haiku prompt site will vanish back into the emptiness from which it came but hopefully I’ll get a second wind by tomorrow afternoon and post a new prompt.  I also look forward to seeing how Sally emerges from the transformative energy around her right now.   I imagine her new creative photos will be even stronger and even more inspiring. 

prompt:   https://lensandpensbysally.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/sally-ds-mobile-photography-challenge-challengers-choice-photomontage/

The Old Factory

The old factory’s working life is over.   For years it has been sliding into dereliction.   Now a new owner has bought it and plans to restore the building to its former glory.  Art spaces, an antiques market and a car museum will now be housed within.    These photos were taken around the back of the building.   I guess it will take a while for the restoration to reach these nether regions but perhaps their days of decrepitude will be over before too long.

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prompt:   https://bopaula.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/thursdays-special-over/

Thoughts on my Mind

Chevrefeuille of CDHK is focusing on the work of Milarepa this week.   He has posted this poem together with a commentary as to its Buddhist meaning.  Prompt:  songs of milarepa 3

Listen to me, dear shepherd, the protector [of sheep)!
By merely hearing about sugar’s taste, 
Sweetness cannot be experienced; 
Though one’s mind may understand 
What sweetness is, 
It cannot experience directly; 
Only the tongue can know it. 
In the same way one cannot see in full the nature of mind, 
Though he may have a glimpse of it 
If it has been pointed out by others.
If one relies not on this one glimpse, 
But continues searching for the nature of mind, 
He will see it fully in the end. 
Dear shepherd, in this way you should observe your mind. 

© Milarepa

I have to admit I’m lousy at Buddhist meditations where you observe your mind.    I guess it’s about ultimately realizing emptiness – another Buddhist concept I’m lousy at.   I would have to say I am a failed Buddhist.   I’m more of Taoist really.
What intrigues me about the nature of the mind is how our minds are changing because of the internet.   I made the collage below in an attempt to express how access to the internet has expanded my view of the world.   It’s true too much social media can be a collosal distraction and confusion but for me, the benefits of the internet far outweigh the negatives.

Interconnected
– collective consciousness
enriches us all

001 (collage constructed from magazine photos)