a story that reads like a poem or

A sound leaps, wing beats

catches his turn into the library

and thinks he hears

Greetings.I am Mallorca.

O, so unexpected, a voice from the wilderness

(a bundle of colors, red, yellow and blue,

a parrot, perched six foot high.)

I’m Dante.

Are you then from the Balearic Islands?

My master’s sister brought me from Costa Rica.

O, my childhood playmate, Estrelita.

What are you doing?

My master wants to learn Shakespeare’s sonnets.

He reads the lines. I repeat them.

Repetitions for hours oblivious of time

to bind the lines to hairpin folds of memory.

A vocal amanuensis, a pet companion.

I am from a new breed of birds

trained to be good listeners

not unlike the owls of Harry Potter.

You are special

like sweet berries in the desert.

Or like a concubine, not free.

A gold anklet shines on Dante’s eyes.

I’m sorry, he says, with a look of sadness.

I have to say goodbye.

When I comeback, can you teach me Spanish?

Please do come back.

Birds can be lonely.

a prayer

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers
but to be fearless in facing them.

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain
but for the heart to conquer it.

Let me not look for allies in life’s battlefield
but to my own strength.

Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved
but hope for the patience to win my freedom.

Grant that I may not be a coward,
feeling Your mercy in my success alone;

But let me find the grasp of Your hand in my failure.

-Rabindranath Tagore

paradise lost

Family picnic in the park
The children ran the dog in circles
They, seated across the table, would raise their eyes
to look at each other momentarily
as if trying to search their mind for something forgotten
perhaps promises, once cherished, now faded.

They bowed their heads again
a sacred gadget glowing on their palms
thumbs resuming the devoted task
oblivious of the tide returning to the sea
a blue heron flew away whispering a ripple in the air
ants like nomads leaving in caravans.

note: On tract in finishing The Restless Flame, a novel about St. Augustine, and The Confessions of St. Augustine in 30 days since the start on March 16.

Waiting on the bookshelf: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (about time I open the pages) and True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey, one assigned reading in my study of Australian Literature.

I did my work-out in the gym yesterday.

What is fouetté?

A pause from our ordinary Saturday Mrs Abstract and I saw Don Quixote by the San Francisco Ballet in San Francisco.I was culturally introduced to ballet 101 and fouetté. The ballet was astonishingly beautiful.

Total running time: 2 hours 34 minutes, two intermissions

The program notes: The classic favorite returns! Helgi Tomasson and Yuri Possokhov’s thrilling and visually resplendent Don Quixote features some of the most virtuosic dancing in the classical repertory and a dazzling array of costumes by the late Tony Award winner Martin Pakledinaz.

the way it is

Spring arrives with tulips, cattleyas and daffodils
promenaders bring the crowd and bees disperse them
shouts and laughter of children playing
pause and enjoy, I try
days pass too quickly
start of a new cycle
before we know it
impermanence and renewal
saying goodbye and hello
singing the Beatles’s song

from decays comes blooms
new houses, buildings, neighborhood
a landscape of men and women
sometimes wonderful and sometimes confused
“at times loving and at times self-seeking”
compassionate and cruel
beautiful and frightening.

I look out at dawn, awakening
darkness yielding to clarity and brightness
tonight I will prepare dinner, open bottles of wine
why should we be strangers.

beginner’s mind

“Zen is about consciousness, but a consciousness that is transformed…Zen consciousness does not try to fit things into artificially conceived a priori structures. It is simple attentiveness to reality. It ‘simply sees what is right there and does not add any comment, any interpretation, any judgment, any conclusion. It just sees.’… Zen is interested in the real, not the verbal….Zen involves attentiveness and receptivity to what is….Awareness of Zen, therefore, is not the self-conscious awareness of a reflecting, knowing, talking ego, but pure awareness-an awareness that is immediately present to itself.”-William H.Shannon, Thomas Merton’s Paradise Journey, Writings on Contemplation

note: I’m reading Shannon’s book mentioned above in between the 2 books about St. Augustine. I’m on schedule with St. Augustine’s readings.I worked out today.

too far away

“I sank away from Thee, and I wandered, O my God, too much astray from Thee my stay, in these days of my youth, and I became to myself a barren land.”-St. Augustine, The Confessions of St. Augustine,Book II

In The Restless Flame, Book II, Augustine received 2 shockers on the same day: his father is dead and his servant girl said: “ Dear master-I am with child by you.” Augustine is only 18.

note: I’m reading together The Restless Flame, a novel about St. Augustine and The Confessions of St. Augustine. I challenged myself to finish both books in 30 days.Today is the first day.