Douglas Penick


The melody of the sword of prajna
Calls forth time in
The appearance of reality;

So filled with subtle meanings, questions, promptings,
Worlds radiate in the unceasing movement of sound.
Opening and closing
The shape of the world and the experience of beings
Expands and contracts.
Life begins, remains, echoes, and decays.

Sound in its coloration,
As blue, yellow, scarlet, green;
Shimmers as the mandala of existence,
Solidifies in waves of words as ground of being:
As anger, pride, lust, and envy, fear;
As the demarcation of what is called life
And what is called death
Spins unceasingly, pressing on
As the dim welter of conflicting emotion.

It is said:
'Just as a moment has an end,
So it must have a beginning and a middle.'
So, from the naming of one moment,
The infinite mirage of time appears:
The mirage of beginning, of maintaining, of destruction and of void.

At a word or phrase
The senses expand, contract:
As space and solidity
Where beings seek to dwell.

Worlds take form.
Those who live there live in time,
Struggle to give birth, to continue, to die.

So illusory dramas of life and death are strategized and played
As beings seek refuge in endless realms,
Bound together inextricably
By concept and word.'

Submitted: Saturday, July 20, 2013
Edited: Monday, July 22, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

The sisters sang: Mekhala and Kanakhala held the blazing swords which had sprung from their mouths like tongues of flame aloft in their right hands and swirled them in the air. They sang this song, and the sound was harsh and terrifying like the roar of an approaching tornado.

-Douglas Penick, THE BRILLIANCE OF NAKES MIND, Mountain Treasury Press. PP.60-62

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