Autumn 2016 Showcase

the mountain

The summer of 1984 was unusually warm and sunny in the American Pacific Northwest, even on the slopes of the Cascade Range where Pacific Ocean moisture meets cool mountain air and manifests in near-perpetual fog and drizzle. I was a volunteer on a resource management work crew at Tipsoo Lake in Mount Rainier National Park, transplanting alpine perennials to repair damage to fragile meadows. Every day that summer at Tipsoo we had unabated postcard views of Rainier, the tallest, most majestic Cascade volcano, only a few miles away as the raven flies.

So I was bemused when a tourist called out to me from below in the parking lot, “Hey Ranger, where in the heck is Mount Rainier?”

I put down the shovel, turned to face the man and the mountain, and wouldn’t you know it, the mountain was gone, enshrouded in mist. I explained to the man that Mount Rainier had been visible in all its glory for all of July and August, in fact, until just five minutes before.

“I’ve been to all the world’s great peaks,” he told me, “Mount Fuji, Mont Blanc, Kilimanjaro, Denali, Chimborazo, and I’ve never seen a one of ‘em. That’s the story of my life”

And so we present poetry by new and returning contributors – mountains seen, and unseen, and a few life stories. I hope you will enjoy this mountain trek as I have and find yourself in spaces of quiet and beauty and even transcendence along the way, but of course no two of us make the same journey, or, as Han-shan, the Master of Cold Mountain writes:

Where’s the trail to Cold Mountain?

Cold Mountain? There’s no clear way.

Ice, in summer, is still frozen.

Bright sun shines through thick fog.

You won’t get there following me.

Your heart and mine are not the same.

If your heart was like mine,

You’d have made it, and be there!

Following the poems you will find 15 scenes by Michigan artist Cynthia Coté, inspired by a recent trip to Iceland. Of the series, Coté says “These drawings are composed of hearty Icelandic people and the beautifully unusual landscape as I experienced it. I draw with pen and ink and colored pencil. Each drawing is a record of the time.”

So grab your rucksack and walking stick. Onward!

Ray Sharp
Guest Editor
the zen space

__________

Joyce Joslin Lorenson (and her granddaughter, Trinity)

lorenson-1

lorenson-2

lorenson-3

__________

Simon Hanson

 

Into the Sky

 

gilt edged
snow-capped
mountain dawn

:

alpine lake
drifts of pink cirrus
in still water

:

highland path
ten thousand steps
into the sky

:

starry night
mountain silhouette
black light
__________

ai li

 

  1. a song
    for the night
    i colour it purple

:

  1. love finds me
    on top of a mountain
    wanting to fly

:

  1. i wait for you
    in forests
    long gone
    a maple leaf
    in your last book

:

  1. afternoon nap
    the plums darken
    when i wake

:

  1. taking the pilgrim’s path
    to the source
    the air is so thin

:

  1. temple life
    a falling leaf
    brings music

:

  1. chanting
    across the valley
    before dawn
    before the world
    was new

__________

Rachel Sutcliffe

  1. summer’s end
    stealing every summit
    morning mist

:

  1. evening shadows
    falling through
    the valley

:

  1. mountain climb
    at the summit
    our deep breath

:

  1. snow on the peaks
    these piles of rice
    on my plate

:

  1. sunlight through mist
    the mountain returns
    one stone at a time

:

  1. mountain trail
    a faded cap
    at the summit

__________

Richard Stevenson

 

since when have
ladybugs gone in for
racing stripes?

:

trusses going up
a cabbage white
picks a peak

:

window side table
water tower restaurant
for the car parade

:

In the interval
between chirp and twitter
the nail gun

:

second day
first wall of the neighbour’s
new addition’s up

:

no coffee
the tap’s metronomic
drip

__________

Canne Mills

zero correlation, but –
lazy by the river, minus care
bicycle by, silent

:

eyes for Fuji
snapping lesser bulks –

:

gulls inactive, feet wet –
PM. Tsukiji

:

bicycle by, silent
with wall, bicycle
bamboo shooting, orange bands

:

metallic sound of joining wood
glazed ramen, working café
necessary tack

:

sidewalk, noodles corrugate
dwarfed land and
vertical circuits

__________

Bruce England

Daughter asks again,
“what’s the oldest thing
you have? not yourself!”

:

Out together
we become younger man
older woman

:

When the hose
turns cold in my hand
I drink

:

Barbwire
does not slice
the moving fog

:

In her crib
my daughter sees what
with her uncarved face?

:

The flag flaps
in the wind, the flag flaps
in the mind

__________

Miriam Sagan
Terminal

0.
before dying
she packs up and ships
her fossils

:

1.
it was beads on a string, Navajo pearls

it was not like that at all

it was like a tiny Mata Ortiz blackware pot
the size of a thumbnail
no, it was a miniature turret shell
containing
a homeopathic dose
of the sound
of the sea

actually it was more like
a pregnant woman in a great metropolis
weeping at a siren, saying
someone is suffering

:

2.
someone
asked me if you
had accepted death

this is a problem
of syntax

who is this “you”
does this “you”
exist at all

as to “accept”
I very much doubt it

and when we say death
I’m fairy sure
we have no idea what we’re talking about

:

3.
I know myself
for the ordinary
woman I am
as well as for
the girl
who ran

:

4.
a man is selling aspen from a truck
next to the Mexican food cart

on my way to see you
I like to go all the way
to the end
of Aurora Street

see the white horse
and the two brown ones
standing nose to nose

curved bird
in the scrub
and panic grass

I just like to go down to the end, turn around
have always been like that

go all the way down
the dead end and wait
for a moment
in the cul-de-sac

:

5.
what can be covered?

a woman’s mouth
lies
treachery
a flame

nakedness
eggs
the dead
our eyes

a table
a bed
arithmetic
the face of the deep

:

6.
misty coastline
decaying totem poles
in a cubist hand–

you turn the pages
without seeing…

armless torso
of a woman
legless too

sculpted in bronze

:

7.
I’m alone this morning
sipping a lazy woman’s
cup of Nescafe,
I don’t trouble myself
that those yellow roses
do as they please

:

8.
the desert might be
monotheistic
or
homeopathic

you hate it
you love the ocean
Pacific more
than Atlantic

but you are dying here
in town
the neighborhood
slightly run-down

yet a place
someone else
might rejoice in

:

9.
early maps show it
River of the Mother of God
and then its course
disappears

emptiness–
while the Greek word
for “desert”
transmutes
to “hermit”

I am simply
waiting

I am simply
waiting
to feel

I am simply
waiting to feel
the connection
between your swollen, roped, blue-veined
hands and mine

:

10.
I believe
there is a prayer
of one word

but what
word
is it

and is it
a word
I know?

:

11.
black doves among skyscrapers
a sooty rain

better to live here
where nothing ever happens

except for two girls, back neighbors
playing their guitars

whose songs
come note by note over the coyote fence

and whose last names
translate, if you choose to
as “black doves”

:

12.
you fold your nightgown–
actually, I fold it
and place it beneath your pillow
where you can find it again

playing Chinese jump rope–
a chain
you can weave
from rubber bands–

at dusk
on the driveway

fireflies…

oh little sisters of darkness

you knew
even then
I had to go.

__________

Cynthia Coté

 

cote-1-family-at-the-cave-at-hjorleifshofdi

Family at the cave at Hjorleifshofdi

cote-2-approaching-westmann-islands

Approaching Westmann Islands

cote-3-the-scientist

The Scientist

cote-4-rowing

Rowing

 

cote-5-out-for-a-ride

Out for a ride

 

cote-6-mother-and-son-at-selfoss

Mother and son at Selfoss

 

cote-7-star-on-the-hillside

Star on the Hillside

 

cote-8-the-writer

The Writer

 

cote-9-the-days-catch

The Day’s Catch

 

cote-10-the-explorer

The Explorer

 

cote-11-hunting-eels

Hunting Eels

 

cote-12-fox-going-up-the-road-in-heimay

Fox going up the road in Heimay

 

cote-13-after-jon-stefansson

After Jon Stefansson

 

cote-14-the-storyteller

The Storyteller

 

cote-15-pensive-boy

Pensive Boy

Cynthia Coté divides her time between work as founding director of the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock, Michigan and her work as an artist. Her drawings are a composite of people from found photos and records of her real life experiences. She has had the good fortune to travel to Poland, the Czech Republic, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Cuba, Mexico, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Nova Scotia.

__________

The next Showcase at the zen space will be Winter 2017 which will be released, subject to karma, on 1st January 2017.

Please note that the copyright of all written work and images used in this Showcase and elsewhere in the zen space is held by the creating author/artist, even when not explicitly stated, and may not be used elsewhere without permission.

 

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