Often times at the dinner table, my son and I talk about our day and we like to share one thing that happened that marked us because of its beauty, preciousness or simply because it touched us in a nice way.
So here is what my son, nine years old, has been telling me over the past eight days. It is in no order of importance, and none is more precious than another, they were equally precious at the moment in which they happened.
I wanted to share them because they speak of simple beauty, something we often forget about as we move along our days.
The sunset and the gold colors of the clouds.
That I answered my friend’s email.
The hot chocolate with the cappuccino milk you made me.
The music of Chopin I heard. — Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.2, Rubinstein at the piano.
When I saw your face as I came out of school on the first day back at school.
The scent of Jasmine at night that we placed in a glass in the kitchen.
The rain, especially during the afternoon downpour and the noise it made as it hit the windows’ panes with the wind.
a stalk of wild grass
nothing to grasp.
The sky is grey and gold.
It smells of rain
like a kitchen smells of bread.
In the large temple,
the gilded Buddha and Bodhisattva statues towered over me.
Their bodies stiff,
their eyes sharing nothing.
It is the lotus that spoke to me.
it taught me humility
and simple beauty.
Inspired by a visit to the Jade Buddha Temple in Shanghai, China in June 2018. The same thing happened to me when I visited the giant Buddha in Kamakura, Japan, a few years ago. It was in a rose tilting under the weight of rain drops that I found serenity, not the giant metal statue.
I do not write about lingering sunsets, falling blossom petals, the light in the early morning or even about birds taking flight.
I do not use metaphors either. Using the beauty of the world to describe emotions, renders all things oh … just so so banal.
There is no need to trap beauty into words and fancy imagery, forcing it to jump through loops of twisted grammatical constructs.
As for emotions, if you love, if you feel sad; just say it! No need for the rain to take the place of your tears. Your tears are beautiful just as they are.
In this self-centered world, where poetry is measured in hits and likes, as though it was a piece of furniture, I admit to finding little solace in the words of others.
So I lean back on the old Masters like Verlaine and Kobayashi and Hafez and Pushkin and Wang Wei and Victor Hugo and Rumi and Li Pao and Neruda and Basho, and many others.
When I hold a book of their poetry, the world slows down, everything becomes tenderly subtle and I can then hear the silence of beauty.
A flock of birds flies north.
Two tired bees buzz near the blooming lavender.
A cloud, mindless.
The last ray spreads its gold.
The birds leave not a trace in the sky.
Note: “Mindless cloud”: In Zen poetry as well as in classical Chinese poetry, the cloud is often a metaphor for the mind –floating, shifting, insubstantial.
Long after all the flowers have faded
the chrysanthemum blooms alone.
Under grey skies, amidst the first frost,
its petals flutter with the wind from the north.
And yet, it is not November
but the month of May.
And yet, it has graced me with its beauty,
its fragrance filling my lonely heart.
Photo taken at home today of a bouquet of chrysanthemum. It was a gift from my nine year old son who knows I love this flower because it dares to bloom alone.