bamboo broom (image from Rakuten)
IN PRAISE OF SWEEPING
Two of my neighbors are proud owners of gas-powered leaf blowers. On any given weekend, the air is filled with the jet-engine whine of their turbo-charged hair dryers as they walk around their yards creating miniature tornadoes of swirling leaves and dust.
I prefer to do things the old-fashioned way and use a broom. It’s not one of those wooden handled, straw brooms grandmothers used to sweep out the kitchen, but a high-tech one with a PVC handle and an extra-wide head with durable, synthetic bristles cut at an angle. What takes me an hour my neighbors can do in ten minutes flat. One neighbor, out of pity, offered to let me use his leaf blower, but I politely declined, mumbling rather apologetically that I enjoyed sweeping. And I do. Instead of noise comparable to a busy flight deck on an aircraft carrier, the only sound my broom makes is a gentle swish, swish, swishing as I sweep the driveway and the walkway leading up to the front door.
In Zen monasteries, monks use bamboo brooms to sweep the temple grounds as part of their training. Like any rhythmic, repetitive activity, sweeping is conducive to meditation. To sweep properly, one must have the correct mindset which is to “become one with the broom” so that it becomes an extension of one’s body. You simple cannot achieve such a state of mind while wielding a noisy leaf blower. In fact, while sweeping the driveway, the idea for this essay quietly came to mind.
The stakes are high, the odds are great
The roll of dice will seal my fate.
To win or lose – it’s in the cards
Dame Lady Luck bestows rewards.
With all to lose; with all to gain,
I gladly choose to play Love’s game.
Let come what will, let come what may,
My skills all use this game to play.
The highest bet I’ll bravely call.
To win her hand, I’ll stake it all.
Let’s not forget Kenny Roger’s poetic ballad, “The Gambler.” Enjoy.
Summer’s green has turned to Autumn’s brown
Soon the icy frost will coat the ground.
Brilliant trees are thinning leaf by leaf.
Overnight has come the cunning thief.
Gone the days of labor honest.
Gone the days of hope and promise.
Silent are the bird calls’ early morn.
Just the hollow sound of wind forlorn.
Earth, once fecund, now lies fallow.
Now profaned what once was hallow.
Once-glad Earth is now quite sullen.
Fruitful bounty has all now fallen.
Winter’s coming death will soon arrive.
Can the distant hope of Spring survive
Or will stubborn Winter still remain;
Never come its glory once again?
SUMMER’S HEATED PASSION
Summer’s heated passion
Has turned to Winter’s chill.
Like yesterday’s fashion,
Gone are the joy and thrill.
No smiles reign upon me,
No warmth is in her touch,
Now the heart is empty,
Remains the truth as such.
Now days are gray and bleak,
No leaf left on the branch.
Her love again I seek
Had only I the chance.
If only these eyes had not beheld your visage,
Then this brave heart would not have lost all its courage.
If only these hands had not felt your soft, smooth skin,
Then they would have desired not to touch again.
If only these lips your own had not partaken,
Then chaste purity would not have been forsaken.
If only these ears had not heard your lilting voice,
Then other voices may have sounded just as choice.
If only this tender heart had not been broken,
Then words such as these would have remained unspoken.
A SMOLDERING WICK
A smoldering wick about to die,
An ember soon to be extinguished,
A final tear followed by a sigh.
Broken the heavy heart with anguish.
Changed from summer’s heat to winter’s chill,
Fevered love that once had burned so bright.
What once seemed so good is now but ill.
What once seemed so much is now but slight.
The whys and hows remain unanswered;
Nothing but sorrow and bitter strife.
May these last words remain uncensored.
May love flame again back into life.
A TRIVIAL GAME
It was for you but a trivial game,
Some slight amusement to pass the idle hour,
The wild heart to capture and then tame,
To have dominion and absolute power.
A bored cat merely toying with its prey,
With its wide-eyed stare of glistening fear.
Cruel and taunting in its tormenting play,
No mercy granted to a suffering Lear.
But as for me, caught in your sharpened claws,
It was not a simple game, but life and death.
Discarded, darkness o’er these eyes now draws
As I profess my love with my dying breath.