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Zen

depends on reader's approach

I, as Teishu, invite him in 

to our tea house for chanoyu

slide the newly papered shojis 

leftward two thirds, with the left

and the remainder with my right hand

having prepared already 

the zen garden outside carefully

raking the sands in waves 

breaking 'round each island

itself a cleansing, calming act

a light course of stone soup, made in advance

have swept the heavy cedar beams and steps

and bathed in deep hot springs and fresh

sunset hair in wild clouds over

deep earth-tone silken plaids mounded

by a shy indigo and crimson obi 

mufti restrains passion in neat lines

seated on the cushions

the honoured, only guest, my Shokyaku 

now waits

in with the brazier, utensils set out

each with a solemn purpose

we're meant to discuss these

I kneel on fresh new tatamis

instead of customary sweets, 

place a pussywillow twig

with two sprigs of foxglove

promise and menace

onto a green slate board

the scent of cedar, straw and eucalypt

so like the powdered macha, green tea

hot water ready, poured into the vessel

emptied and now ready, poured again, oyu

I fold the fukasa a second time, silently

and cleanse the rim

as ritual allows us and

tea drifts over, sinks

a gentle stir

our eyes meet

this deceptive simplicity

seemingly careless

play of light and shadow

practiced economy of motion

gliding without touching ground

implies abundant leaping 

in absentia

he reaches out

against convention

a perfect speckled eggshell bowl

raised on his empty luminescent palm

now overflowing

an endless well-spring

of possibility

- kmf (RedSonja)

Note: huge liberties taken with a summer chanoyu (lit. hot water tea) hakobi-temae (hakobi: to carry, rather than on display; temae: ritual steps in ceremonial preparation of tea), in part to meld occidental & oriental. Some may know 'stone soup' from Russian folklore.

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