Sunday, September 13, 2015


When the great Zen master Fa-ch’ang was dying,
a squirrel screeched out on the roof.
“It’s just this, he said, and nothing more.”

—Ken Wilber

                    Was that despair, then, or enlightenment?
                    We must assume it was a clear insight
                    Into the Truth of things and heaven sent,
                    A comprehension of our human plight.

                   Just now, near dawn, I’m hearing a squirrel bray
                   Loudly from the height of an oak tree
                   In our back yard to celebrate the day
                   Perhaps, and teach all creatures how to be.

                  Or is he just asserting what’s his turf
                  And warning all his rivals to keep off,
                  A message of no spiritual worth
                  But one to make deriding cynics scoff?

                      I’ll say that squirrel is celebrating day
                      As well as keeping all his foes at bay.