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Warren Falcon

(04/23/52 - xxxx / Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA)

After Folly - An Aging Poet Addresses One Who Wanders In Mountains Remote


'Now I've broken my ties with the world of red dust;
I spend all my time wandering and read all I want.
Who will lend a dipper of water
to save a fish in a carriage rut? ' - Han Shan, Tang Dynasty, China

1

There's a hairy Moses in the distance counting pocket
change to give to the ferrier, coins that fit the eyes.
I'm hanging at the back of the crowd. There's manna
enough for pockets. My Red Sea is long parted but old
Pharaoh's got a new army. Each day is a scrape in the tents.
Prayer and fear is sustenance dragged further out by pillars
of fire. A volcano rumored to be God publishes 'Mandates for
a New Junta', led by a well-bred stutterer (prototypical politician,
it seems) . In odd limbo there trail reluctant murmurers.

That 'Golden Calf 'Incident' was a silly mistake,
an overreaction, but there were agreements made
at the outset, sealed in blood, first born sons threatened
or worse, guaranteed real estate for dairy farmers and
bee keepers, oodles of milk-and-honey futures, money
to be made in hopefully greener pastures. Now it can
be said with certainty, a 'promised land' comes with
big catches - I've exchanged one for another, same
mistake - the barbs are plenty, mostly mistaken people
thinner than scripture loudly staking claims to land
and deity in long meander.

It's a luxury, sure. Some choose to wander. Some don't.
Water is scarce in deserts. Wheels are few but for
chariots of war, not many ruts though there's thirst aplenty,
not the bounty promised before the journey.

A penny for a wet tongue.

I'm of that hung up crowd forced to flee, a victim of unleavened
fate, or is that too Greek a notion? The question begs asking.
Unintended impertinence must be forgiven. That's the theme,
right? the long march of history, that of redemption in time though
each and every has an opinion. Can't be helped. Much to explain.
All's a seeming washed in blood.

2

How passing strange is life in old age overwrought by
too much thinking. All is not yet lost but merely tossed
and scrambled in this ramble where etymology is everything.
And good boots. I'm then to poetry and books a-sundry,
an attempt to keep a horizon. Above it. Not under but
the dip is soon enough. Humor with others is still intact.
Alone I manage to laugh out loud.. After a life of folly so
much frivolity empties one out. I cry out in the night but
remainder to Silence.

3

Old friend, I've been reading zen, the 'death poems' and
'Sayings of the Desert Fathers, ' in many ways the same.
These orient. One can still lift a head up amongst the stars
while swatting flies, be silly, for what care stars at all
but for eyes, maybe they're wanting to be seen?
Reading remote poets and prophets purposefully hiding
out to 'draw nigh unto' is ironic, remove the eye of the
perceiving other and it will show up upon the sky, mountains,
all things between, universally; perhaps even TV screen static
between channels links here/now with beyond; easier to
be in subtle presences sublime than these lumps in solidity
which are the material, a hard father's boot-steps on the stairs
just out the door sends one packing, a shy Desert Father
beneath his bed to hide, a wilderness of sorts.

From there I pray,

'Abide with me, Father,
give sons a safer world,
bring them gently into it'.
Many sons are ill-prepared,
'not yet, not yet, ' they bray.

4

I'm flung further into the fray though I sway up 5 flights
of stairs, long in exile, dizzy with the street, the human
beauty and brokenness there, all those flower pots in
windows, on stoops, the blossoming tree brightening
between darker bricks to truly dwell. It is for me, a shy
son, to see in spite of big chunks missing or torn out,
to remake the world as it always is for angels long to
be bread to dwell in our finitude. To them, then, I am
'the Dude', a daffodil in my lapel, gate of heaven and
h*ll open at the end of the block. I skip forward singing,
'La La La, ' poems a'pocket. If questioned at the gate
I'll blame you, meandering still, granting permission
the entrance to boldly storm.

Between St. Marks and the horizon my fingers still work.

Submitted: Friday, May 06, 2011
Edited: Sunday, July 03, 2011

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Comments about this poem (After Folly - An Aging Poet Addresses One Who Wanders In Mountains Remote by Warren Falcon )

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  • Warren Falcon (5/6/2011 1:43:00 PM)

    Thanx, Juan.

    Han Shan was a Chan Buddhist 'mad man' who lived remotely in high hills and pissed off the orthodox Buddhist community by running into temples during ceremonies and farting loudly during the sutra chanting and kow towing...the outraged righteous mobs would chase him from the temple and through the village while Han Shan laughingly calling out, ' HELP HELP! ! I'm being chased by mad men! ! '

    He'd scratch his poems on rocks, on walls, on trees during the night and, thankfully, someone or ones wisely wrote them down...Han Shan is one of the progenitors of the 'crazy wisdom' tradition in Buddhism...

    He's my kinda Holy (Mole) Man.

    Zen and other 'flavors' of Buddhism is full of such mad ones. Jesus had a lotta 'chan n zen in him...just read his Sermons on the Mount and parables...mind and morality twisters! And He, too, was chased by mad men and answered tricksterishly to the powers that be, both sacred and secular.

    Good wanderings to you...and here are some Han Shan poems available online for ready digestion!

    http: //books.google.com/books? id=3JQL3CdgSgkC&dq=cold+mountain+poems+burton+watson&printsec=frontcover&source=in&hl=en&ei=7j7ETbmPIYiugQeJxvnKBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=11&sqi=2&ved=0CGkQ6AEwCg#v=onepage&q=cold%20mountain%20poems%20burton%20watson&f=false (Report) Reply

  • Juan Olivarez (5/6/2011 12:50:00 PM)

    My friend as one who has done his share of wandering in the mountains(California not the middle east) I am very intrigued by your poem, I think it is absolutely wonderful. I am ashamed to say that I have never read Zen or even met a Buddist but your poem is highly superior Warren. Thanks for sharing with another aging poet. (Report) Reply

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