Had a brief (5 min) but good (very) discussion in my afternoon section of this bit from Robert Creeley’s Pieces.
We’d talked about integrity of the line, its wholeness, and I asked whether these lines, short as they are, felt complete. Do they offer an experience that satisfies and then releases you to the next experience. I expected great resistance but they so got it.
One saw a telegraphic narrative of breakfast (cereal and coffee). Another one of lunch (a cup or a bowl of soup). Another saw a formal patterning that reminded him of the buildup and falling off of a short story (three letters, four letters, six letters—over two syllables!—then down to four).
And all of the resonances metonymic. A poetry of everydayness.
I can’t hear pieces as not also peaces.
As in, the mind of pieces, is a mind of peaces.
Very different from our sense of “going to pieces,” falling apart, fragmenting, disintegrating. Here, rather, that any part, however wayward, however bereft or stranded, is its own whole.
My old teacher, Daido Roshi, said to us often, You’re perfect and complete, just as you are. He was no softy, he was a dragon, but he said that. I remember one sesshin (meditation intensive) when I was in a hard way, I went in for dokusan (face-to-face teaching) and blurted out, tearstreaky and snotfaced, Perfect and complete under all the conditioning (dumb learned damage we carry), or perfect and complete with all the conditioning? With he said and rang the bell. Creeley’s Pieces brings me back to that.
A beautiful thought of Thich Nhat Hanh. There is no way to peace, peace is the way. Do I harm it, and I hope not, by this variance, there’s no such as peace, there are only peaces.
Creeley had no patience for any zen bs or so I’ve heard. And yet the most dharmic poet I know. Here’s Dogen’s “body and mind falling away”—
And here, the myriad ways of seeing water, Dogen says different modes of being have—
The bird flies
A variance, for sure, on Williams’s old woman, those plums.
A cup, a bowl, a saucer, all full, not in the sense of bearing up some matter, though they might that also, but in themselves, present, there.