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On The Road Poems

Once we step upon the open road, our life will never be the same, for that road ever leads on, away from the known and into the unknown and the new.

 

 

A Solitary Walk

What was I doing there?

I felt so out of place--

The loud confusion,

The irrelevant concerns--

A light-year away from me.

I just had to slip out by myself

To walk alone under the starry heavens

Drinking in the sane cool air,

Not to go back.

 

Clear Autumn Notes

A clear autumn day

Resounding like a bell,

"Come back to me".

Looking around, remembering,

Feeling --

The trees are full of bright crisp leaves

Waiting to drop,

The silence resounds

"Come back to me".

Cherishing the heartfelt moment,

And yearnings unspeakable,

Examining the faces I see,

Recalling so many moments in my life

That have been like this one.

Walking along in old comfortable shoes,

Leaves crackling underfoot,

Smells of earth and pure clean air--

A sense of purpose and love

And questions

Come back to me.

 

Above It All

gray day

gray snow and slush

gray pavement, cracked and wet

gray houses closed up and drab

gray streets with gray salt crusted cars

spewing gray exhaust and gray noise!

with an airplane loudly roaring

through the thick gray soup

of this dull work-a-day world

into the sky above--

until it bursts free, finally

into pure blue--and golden light!

high above the earth,

soaring through clear vast space,

feeling joy and life!

how marvelous, the transformation!

how beautiful the world!

   

 

Vistas Unbidden

I hear a call this moment

Just when I had begun to despair

O, if I only had words to describe it

It's like a vision--it's like a song

A dream more real than any remembered

A hope dancing before the dawn

A purity we've long forgotten

A life for which we long!

A misty picture now forms itself before my eyes--

There in some far off place the air is bright and alive.

The simple, open, light buildings are different somehow--

There are sunny plains and busy towns,

There are the mountains and spiritual distances.

Things here seem to be lived on a more primal level --

Yet refined and not primitive or coarse.

Life is lived more simply without a lot of artificial concerns,

Material desires or separative beliefs.

Reality pervades, and the wholeness of life is experienced in oneness.

And in cooperation is creative life being realized.

 

Fly 

Fly, O fly

Off to the land you are called to,

Breathe a freer air,

And wing your way

High above the roofs of daily care.

 

Star Free Resolution

Sitting by the freeway,

Dark cool air soothing,

Innumerable crickets and cars

Fading into the distance,

Vast and omnipresent.

A half moon and the stars beyond

So clear now.

O life! Infinite moment ever new

Wrapped in wonder.

No school or office for me--

I want the way that leads to life itself.

The night air whispers of something larger and joyous

And this unknown calls,

Away from the stifling and the false.

Putting the past behind me I'll trust

That this was meant to be

And leave the future to unfold itself

Accepting what I am led to do.

 

Glad To Forget

I'm glad to forget

All those needless worries,

And all the time I spent

Wanting,

Trying.

I gave it all I had

For just grief and frustration.

Now I'm happy to be free of it--

And don't lack a thing.

 

A Wheel Revolving

--from a market in Ecuador

Like another world!

A thousand happenings.

A profusion of smells and sights exotic.

The gay confusion--

walking down aisles of makeshift stalls

winding chaotically in a spreading labyrinth.

Stepping over the concrete and dirt

and stuff spread out on blankets,

past the festive displays and bannered encampments.

Looking, tasting, examining this new thing,

buying that.

Caught up in the fascination of it all--

the excitement so palpable,

breathing the air so foreign and enticing.

Flashes of countless assorted faces

streaming by.

Fragments of innumerable sounds and voices merging

into one sound, intoxicating.

Everything swirling together into a larger movement

happening of itself.

All revolving as the day in splendor

already moving into night.

And with evening's fires coming out I pause,

pack thrown over my shoulder,

looking out over this sea of life

like some dazed Marco Polo

slowly coming to his senses.

 

To the Joy of It

Warm southern air has blown in today

from lazy sun-warmed tropical lands--

with flower scented, white sand and palm tree breezes.

And everything moves to a happy music,

carefree and light, dancing off bright walls,

car tops and tiled roofs all the way down to the bay.

Traffic moves to the rhythm of it,

passersby stroll to it,

eucalyptus sway to it,

butterflies flit to it,

and all life resounds to the joy of it.

 

Exotic Retreat

In a foreign land at a sidewalk cafe

sipping coffee by myself, this morning,

oblivious to the utmost confusion surrounding me--

the crowds and the noise

and the language I don't understand,

just reflecting calmly

and gazing out on the day.

 

A Hope Undaunted

In the quiet warmth of the morning sun,

as butterflies flit amongst the flowers,

something opens, and I know,

oh all that I ever wanted to say still aches

unspoken in my breast,

and everything that I would fain be,

somehow still eludes me--

a dream waiting to be lived.

 

Hitch Haiku

Not wanting to move

Even the sun tiptoes

Sunday morning calm

 

Do you feel it! Do you feel it!

The sun is up!

The birds are singing!

 

Come on, let's be off!

The sun is up!

The stars are waiting!

 

Sooner or later, I'm content

Sitting by the road

Hitching

 

The open road--

A new sun in a new sky!

 

Happy to walk along

My pack on my back

 

Here I am

Glad to be

No place in particular

 

On the freeway ramp

The stars bright above

The sounds of crickets

 

Car lights blaze

But roar past--

On my own

 

A car passes

The sound trailing off--

The open highway

 

Sipping hot coffee at 2:00 AM

A truck stop

Somewhere along the freeway

 

Lights spinning in my head

Getting out

In a new town

 

Diamond night

Lost in thought

Shoes soaked with dew

 

Day after day

It's still here--

But I can't remember

 

Overcast days

Turning cooler

Another autumn in my life

 

Singing love songs

Alone

Hazy autumn sea

 

Hair blowing

Jacket zipped

Walking alone

Late November

 

Early Sunday walk

Down the long street

Snowcapped mountains rising

 

Frozen

At the bottom

Winter leaves

 

Foreign whirl

A few days have passed

A month has gone by

 

Drinking hot sake

Lost in obscurity

Somewhere in Tokyo

 

A nameless village inn

Huddled around a pot of tea

The winter wind rattling

 

Too far away--

Long shadows

Even at midday

 

Immediate camaraderie--

Two Americans and I in Kochi

 

An instant somebody, alas

In faltering English

I'm introduced around

 

What let me here?

What must I know?

Faint sounds of distant music

 

Solitude

Enclosed by the wind

Walking across the empty lot

 

Coming in at night

Leaving in the morning

Nameless traveler

 

Late at night, listening--

Far away sounds

 

After a hot shower

Lying in bed, thinking--

The Big Dipper filling my window

 

Rainy day in Singapore

Sharing some rice cookies

Not understanding a word

of the movie

 

Ah, taken away!

Sunlight on the table

A cup of tea

 

Bali--paradise

Days looking at this thatched roof

Sick in bed

 

Countryside rushing by

Thoughts soaring

On my way!

 

Pralaya 

Looking out from this small hotel room

through telephone lines

over warehouse roofs

to a hill of old houses

under a soft blue hazy sky.

 

Pondering 

While I was seated under a tree, eating some lunch,

a man told me wistfully how forty years ago

he used to hitch around the country.

Now he passes bent and overweight with his old wife and reminisces.

The gray-haired architect who gave me a ride earlier

said that he once thought of entering the church

and that he's had to compromise to make a successful business.

This morning the cook related to me that he once wanted to travel

and be a writer. But now he works in the cafe or is drinking with his friends.

Dreams, hopes, the yearnings hidden in the heart.

Time passes so quickly. We make our choices, our compromises,

perform our deeds and reap what we have sown.

Where do we lay our faith and direct our energy?

Old beat up cars going by and new expensive models.

Youths in excited conversation, a mother calling to her children,

a worker's discussion. Going here or there. Wanting this or that.

Oh what is it that underlies it all?

Something is sensed which I must know.

In solitude and silence I sit apart, yearning to unlock this mystery.

 

The Hidden Path

When I am weary and dulled

And my thoughts in circles go,

I wait for the night and the starlit air

Seeking the hidden path that runs

Unto the stars and beyond

That I had found but now have lost

Among shadows and moonlight glimmering.

Where is the portal to that secret place

Behind the diamond veil

Where magic lives still and ever more

Though the secret way be forgotten?

 

Till I Am Yours

As for the trials, the difficulties--

I don't care

As for the anguish, the suffering--

I don't care

As for the confusion, the longing--

I don't care

Lord, I don't care, whatever may come

burden me till I reach out,

Until I realize my complete dependence on You,

Until I want no more of anything else

Burden me more--

And, pray, quicken the fires of my heart.

 

A Prayer

O what must I do? Lord, what must I do?

I will bear the entire load

If I can but know

What I must do.

 

Thy Will Be Done

What will I do?--What is given me to do

What will I say?--What I am given to say

What will I see?--What is there to see

How will l labor?--

Through thy wisdom all is accomplished

 

Contact 

What is that knocking?

O heavenly light

Transfigured in solitude

Beyond all doubts

These years apart

Never the same

Sacrificed to eternity

Here and now

What does it all mean?

Tempests and storms

Unknown seducer

 

In The Sanctuary

In this old hotel room,

The sun pouring golden

Through a dusty window--

I have been traveling now

A long way in hope of a day that must come.

O time! So short.

I don't know anything.

Touch these strings.

Make me fit.

Reveal it.

Burn away all that hinders,

That keeps me apart.

I am yours whatever must come.

Glad now to have trusted in your love.

Enfold me in your presence.

Learning the way,

Teach me the secret.

 

Soul Support

Without a friend

I'm bereft, apart,

I turn inside

To my sole support

 

The Crucible

O, now I would still cry out

and in anguish, seek solace--

caught in this fiery crucible

where I would stay

till all the dross is burned away.

 

Fragments of a Song

At dawn I was gently awakened

by the tenderest caress and led out

to the rocky shore where the winds

and waters were waiting for me

to bathe me clean and open my heart.

I never had realized how beautiful life is--

how what we take for granted hides

the most wondrous mystery.

From far beyond the clamor

and confusion of the world,

a voice and a song eternally play--

our voice, our song, calling us to remember

what is really meant for us

and where our steps should wend.

 

Not Just An End

So many times it's happened

on coming to the end of the road

the end of a dream

when everything seemed over--

how strangely light and free I'd feel

as if some burden were lifted from me

and the season suddenly spring again.

 

For Vagabond Days

Affluent now, but better to be poor

and on the road.

Now week after week goes by the same.

O, to be off again!

To see the sun coming up in the morning.

To walk alone under the stars.

Places seen for the first time.

Things never before said or done.

Away from here--

these damp overcast days--to where the sun burns electric.

Hear again-- the far-off.

Feel again-- the wind through me.

Touch again-- a moment lived.

O enough, enough, these dull indulgent ways.

Get out the pack.

Give away what can't be carried.

Work your last day, and breathe again free.

The time has come.

Let's go.

 

Hokyoji 

Snow water drops sparkle and plop!

A keen air sharpens the mind.

Sitting in the sun under the temple eaves--

Blessed silence, throbbing silence,

And a bright light.

 

White fog above white hills

Barren trees hidden in a haze

A woodpecker knocks, wings flap,

Boots crunch over the snow.

 

Sleeping in the zendo--

Bodhidharma looks skeptical

The Boddhisatva smiles.

 

The Dharma bell gongs--

Ages of suffering

Come to an end

 

Coming upon a temple in the rain

Now a wandering monk

From another age

 

Following the way is simple--

If it were hard I might loose it

Here or there

But no matter where I go

It's there before me.

Giving up looking I find

It's already here.

Forgetting better or worse

Things are perfectly so.

Just what needs to happen does.

How to attain nirvana?

Leave it to the Buddha.

 

There's nothing special to notice--

Down the overgrown track

A few buildings in an open field--

An ancient gate unseen.

 

What's this here?

Along the meandering creek

The Dharma bell sounds--

The wooded hills straighten.

 

Ah, starry night!--

A shooting star hits old Orion--

The piss splashes.

 

The road is largely empty--

Some people come and go

Not noticing

 

Incipient Dream

It must have been an angel's song

That aroused a dream in my heart--

Of free air and open sky,

Of the wind laughing and thrilling

In unbound exuberance.

Under blue I walked,

Through green, in yellow,

And the red coursed to white

And my spirit rose and called to life--

Awakening now from sorry night

A paean chant loud upon the world

An undreamt dawn springing clean

Washing each dark stain

To holy light.

 

Lodged In My Memory

There before me stretched forth the plain--

Tall free grasslands blowing to the horizon.

Fresh and good, the feel of the earth that day,

Walking under an open sky,

And in the distance, a mountain of blue--

Immense, and never before seen.

 

On The Desert

Like another planet!

Wasteland expanses extend without end.

Distant forms rise up unexpectedly

or float on an endless expanse of color

in great sweeps of ever-changing hue.

All in a wondrous light!

Massive and immovable before me,

yet the colors run together

and the plain shimmers fluid-like

and translucent in the distance.

Deep infinite blue overhead,

a rare ether imbuing.

Ever the wind the constant movement

of space. A strange unknown world.

Barren, yet a breath pervading exudes.

Solid and earthy nearby,

yet intangible and ethereal at the horizon.

Cold and dead in the shadows

but alive throughout.

It seems to be here for a reason,

as if it wouldn't be otherwise--

heaven and earth meeting in some purpose

.incomprehensible and vast

as the infinity of space encompassing.

The sun rises to set again,

yet it's never the same.

Behind the ever-changing is sensed the changeless--

nature, the reflection of a mind as yet unknown.

Why? What does it mean?

Overwhelmed and dazed, I turn away

making my way over the stones and brush

back to the cabin.

 

Given To The Wind

With these culled flowers

gathered with care along the way,

a gift I'd hoped to make.

But meeting no one do I now release these all.

Let their perfume the wind carry to whom it may.

As by a greater wisdom they were made,

to that wisdom are they now given.

 

All, Too Quickly

Clear and fresh in the morning,

Welcome harbinger

Surely rising to a noonday height

Radiant,

Carrying all onward,

Till late afternoon--

A haze

A hesitation

Then twilight's fleeting moment so rare,

And night eternal.

 

Balm And Blossoms

Long I listened to the rain

And the gentle sound of water

Falling on leaf and pavement,

Dripping here and there wet and cool

Washing clean and soothing my soul.

Gray and subdued is the morning light,

And the thunder I would not stop,

Coffee at my table and I am at peace.

In the air the scents bring back many things

I had forgotten.

Some years have I been on my way.

I wonder at the choices I have made

And at the paths I have not chosen.

Billions of souls upon the earth--

A small part for each is given.

Infinite are the mysteries of life!

That each may know the All and gratefully Love

And do His work and pass on unknown.

Who knows with whom we pass this day?

And what will be done on the morrow?

What thoughts lie hidden in our heart?

What Power is emerging unbeknownst?

 

 

 

Meeting Nobody

 

I took a little walk today

And went out to the sea

And everywhere I strolled along

Nobody did I see.

Nobody ever answered me

As I called out in the wind

Nobody seemed to hear my voice

That echoed back to me.

I thought I heard some voices

Carried on the breeze

Alas, it was some gulls

That paid no heed of me.

I finally saw some people

And had a happy thought

But they went by without a glance

And left me, saying naught.

So I decided I would sing

As the gulls along the beach

And cast my song on to the wind

To wherever it may reach.