Understanding Nothing (4:25)
high above valley

above deep shade coloured with the calls of cuckoos,

the ring of coppersmith's hammer...

high in the hiss of the wind,

wind filled with spirits

and bright with the jangle of horse bells...

after a crisp night crammed with stars

it's morning.



Over the scratched-up soil, scorched-earth wasted,

long shadows lead women bearing water.

I watch the sway of skirts,

think of moist spice forests --



too many pictures

swirling

vertigo

momentum of civilization

threw me too far over this time-simple landscape

and i hang here

in this mountain light

a balloon blown full of darkness --

got to let this ballast go

got to float upward

till i burst



weavers' fingers flying on the loom

patterns shift too fast to be discerned

all these years of thinking

ended up like this

in front of all this beauty

understanding nothing.



rhododendrons in bloom, sharp against spring snow

remind me of another time

in japanese temple --

there was a single

orange blossom

at the wrong time of year --

seemed like a sign --

when i looked again

it was gone.



weavers' fingers flying on the loom

patterns shift too fast to be discerned

all these years of thinking

ended up like this

in front of all this beauty

understanding nothing.



(Toronto, October 26, 1987.)