Monday, October 30, 2006

Sweet Jizo

I heard about the death of a friend today. Anne-Marie, full of love and grace. She died of being sad, of begging for love. She died because her dreams were so much bigger that the life she ended up with. Her beloved husband left her, her children could not really meet her, her friends went one after the other (and I was one of them). And yet, her smile and this fire in her. This raging love. Now she is in the light everywhere, in this true beautiful heaven on earth, now she loves and is loved beyond measure. As always.

Today I went to visit my stone Jizo after zazen. Beautiful day pouring blue light on children, bikes, tarmac and grass. A butterfly was playing with my nyoi-bo. And then I sang a few sutra and burned incense. In a very unsual way, I sensed a presence behind. Somebody watching playing with a few coins she was about to drop at the feet of the stone Jizo: an old beautiful lady. As I did gassho to her before leaving she said: “Sumimasen obo sama”, thank you.

singing sutra to a stone Jizo
behind, an old lady playing with coins
sweet Jizo in the flesh

Fish and chips

greasy lines of
this newspaper
gorgeous fish and chips
minute feet
on electric wires
morning birds

Sunday, October 29, 2006


for the one who has finally come
The sky
tossed in birds
their ease and joy
Yure ugokitaru tenkuh ni
kuh o etaru ya
kotori no anjin
red and green field
of swaying poppies
our togertheness
akai keshi soyogu
itsu naru hutari

Saturday, October 28, 2006


mists to drink, endless hues
in the moving foliage
palms opened

shedding this skin, bones crushed
what is left?
mountains, mountains
Hone kudakareshi nakigara no
nani zo nokoran
Yama yo yama

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Sesshu Toyo, landscape

A few days ago, I came across the most beautiful piece of poetry from Issa, the Japanese Haiku poet.

mado akete chô wo mi-okuru no hara kana

window open
a butterfly pulls my eyes
across the field

As I was going through my notebook, I noticed I left a poem about a butterfly which had a similar nature to Issa’s verses but not the exquisite beauty of course. It goes as follows:

butterfly, sweet butterfly
please would you come
into my eyes
mederu ya choh no
me ni iritamoh

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Senju Kannon

Senju Kannon, thousand-armed Avalokiteshvara
Mineko san was telling me the other day that when she was a little girl she used to be afraid of Senju Kannon. The temple was dark and this strange statue looked like a mad insect, a strange spider. And her mother was often telling her: “Senju Kannon knows everything you are doing, she is watching you!...”. I told her that Kannon was unconditional love, accepting all things, that Kannon was living here and now, in all aspects of our life. I wrote this clumsy poem for her...
Water ablaze, so is my body
Dark gem of burning coal
Cries of despair
Voices trapped
In past and future

In the midst of this
It sits and stands

Hands, contemplation
Heart, compassion
Arms, action

Ten thousand forms
Expressed in one pearl
One pearl displaying
The ten thousand glows

Lotus on a sea of fire
The body of Kannon
Face of the faceless
Voice of the voiceless
Is but this moment
Nothing but this

Monday, October 23, 2006


For Mineko san
let’s walk in this rain
with Kannon
children again
Ame ni arukeba
kannon-sama ga hohoemite
watashi o kodomo to
Ame ni arukeba
kannon-sama to tawamurete
ware o warabe to

marchons sous cette pluie
avec Kannon
redevenus enfants

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday morning

birds gossiping outside
do they know that
Kuma will be with her today?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The little girl's gift

One day, as I was in the playground of Kyoto French school, a little girl came to me with big eyes, empty of fears or expectations, holding a small bud, a minute flower; she held it until I asked stupidly: is it for me ? She nodded, without a word. I took it in my hands and kept it al my way back to Osaka. This peom is a clumsy attempt to convey this:

playground, a little girl
curly hair, free eyes, holds a flower out to me
the universe’s whisper
Un jour , alors que j'étais sur la cour de récréation de l'école française de Kyoto, une petite fille, les yeux vidés de toute peur ou de toute attente, vint à moi tenant une petite fleur, elle me la tendit jusqu'à ce que je demande stupidement: c'est pour moi? Ell acquiesca sans mot dire. Ce poème essaye de traduire ce moment:
cour de récréation, une petite fille
cheveux bouclés, yeux libres, me tend une fleur
murmure de l'univers

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Leaves and petals
our true
Feuilles et pétales
notre vraie
Ha wa nabiki Hanabira ya
koko ni makoto no
Ie ariki
葉はなびき 花びらや     
(translated by Sakaide san)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


This is the latest poem written this morning on my way to the station and its translation made by a Japanese friend. The Japanese version is closer to what was originally.
for Mineko san
her footsteps
Spring has come
in Autumn

in Japanese
Kanohito Ashioto
Ukitatsu Haru ya
Aki no hi ni
彼の人 足音      
(translated by Sakaidesan)
Le bruit de ses pas
Le printemps est venu
en automne

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Kobe impressions

Fuji in the Autumn 2005

For Mineko san , light of Spring
On a boat in the port of Kobe

the three of us
watching waves
being waves
Nami nagamuru kazoku
ono ga
nami to narishi

the laughing child
plays with me
Autumn sun
Waraigoe taenu kodomo to
aki no hizashi

the coffee shop
our eyes singing
beyond words
kuchi tsugumu-tomo
koibito no
me de uta tsumugu

She has not come
And won’t leave
the beloved
Mada konu hito no
haya wakare o oshimu
hodono koi

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The unbearable

Native Americans slaughtered like cattle in Wounded Knee, lost children of Armenia (Turkish amnesia), Pol Pot's victims photographed before ending up in the mass-grave, Jews in Nazi camps, Chinese solution to solve differences and make sure weeds do not grow on Communist soil, American answer to terrorism...

So what is Buddhist practice? What does it have to do in the world? As Bernie Glassman would say, to bear witness, to witness the unbearable, to apply the warmth of attention to all. Realize that we are both killers and killed. We are the one behind the gun, we are the one crying and falling. That violence and crualty and racism is just here, in us. And the wish is to allow what is nurturing, flowing, life-giving too.

I cannot do much about all this horror but plough my own field. Sit, sing, live, love. And witness the unbearable in me.

This is just a reminder. A few pictures of genocides and crimes in the name ideology, economy, religion...

And this why I write poetry, and no, my blog is not sweet.

Don't you have eyes to see? Pol Pot, Staline, communist dudes, Bush, whether you are Turkish, French, German, English, Japanese...It is all about being human. It is about everyone of us.

Whether you sit or not, please bear witness.


The playful wind in the bamboo forest
paints space

heavens gate (ordinary heaven)

A few more of these useless poems. It just keeps me awake. Better than coffee.

standing at the crossing
cars, fumes and noise
the very flower
kohsaten kuruma ya noizu ga
Hana to saki

don’t you see, don’t you understand
it is raining
iikai? yokumite!
ima ame ga hutteiru
shiho happo ame dayo
いいかい? 良く見て!

In the street
A dancing and laughing fool
Heavens gate
Doko kashiko
waratte odoru orokamono
yominokuni wa

At the back of a wonderful vegeterian Indian retaurant in Nara...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Nara, rainy day

slow morning drizzle
a sky-like heron
hasty pedestrians
Yururito mezamete kirisame ya      
ten ni tokeyuru aosagi no     
izuko e hito no isogiashi