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Page 119

Describe what you are being in a few words:
Now get the idea, "Wow! I'm [description]!"

But you've been doing that all along,
filling in the blanks, the hesitant among you
using pencil or invisible ink.

When all one's interior dramas become
an endless whispered shouting match,
an argument with a madman or a child,
even the water's sneeze following a frog's leap
can be superb drama, yanking us out of
ourselves (out of the dramas left to us
when we have given up the possibility
of sharing the stage with others or the world --
those impossible hams!) as heroically as ever
firefighter snatched child from inferno.

(Take a bow, frog and ancient pond;
thank you, thank you -- sorry, Ladies and Gents,
there will be no encore tonight. Go home,
lie down in bed in the dark alone and
listen...listen...-- can you hear them,
the tiny ripples still spreading
in oceans-wide (but almost imperceptible) circles
from where that frog interfered
with the surface of a pond
and shattered the best mind
of a generation, to that mind's
vast relief.)

Note: Here's Basho's frog again, leaping into the old pond with a splash. It's Alan Ginsberg's "Howl" that (in it's first few lines) refers to the ruination of "the best minds" of his generation, but in Basho's case, the mind that shattered was something superficial, something he could do without. (He was a Zen monk, and supposedly wrote the haiku to describe a moment of "Satori" (realization? enlightenment?) that he experienced when, while meditating by that pond, he was caught up in the sudden sound of water splashing. (This was on a Satori night.)

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