Misc Poems

Movie Quotes

Smile, it enhances your face value.
~ Truvy (Dolly Parton) in "Steel Magnolias"

We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
~ Professor Keating (Robin Williams) in "Dead Poet's Society"

How to deal with death is at least as important as how to deal with life.
~ Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"

In the words of the ancients, one should make his decision within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break through to the other side.
~ Ghost Dog

There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.
~ Ghost Dog

Our bodies are given life from the midst of nothingness. Existing where there is nothing is the meaning of the phrase, "Form is emptiness." That all things are provided for by nothingness is the meaning of the phrase, "Emptiness is form." One should not think that these are two separate things.
~ Ghost Dog

In the Kamigata area they have a sort of tiered lunchbox they use for a single day when flower viewing. Upon returning, they throw them away, trampling them underfoot. The end is important in all things.
~ Pearline, Ghost Dog

There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the moment. A man's whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there is nothing left to do, and nothing else to pursue.
~ Ghost Dog


Movie Quotes, love

There are only four questions of value in life, Don Octavio.
What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made?
What is worth living for? What is worth dying for?
The answer to each is the same. Only love.
~ From the film Don Juan DeMarco (1995)


Limericks Poems

A rare old bird is the Pelican,
His bill holds more than his belican
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week
I'm darned if I know how the helican!

A gentleman dining at Crewe
Found quite a large mouse in his stew.
Said the waiter, "Don't shout
And wave it about
Or the rest will be wanting one too."

There was a small goldfish named Pinkie
Who went for a swim in the sinkie.
When out came the plug
He whispered "Glug, glug
I'll be all at sea in a winkie."

There was an old woman from China
Who went to sea on a liner.
She fell off the deck
And twisted her neck
And now she can see right behind her.

There once was an old man of Lyme
Who married three wives at a time
When asked "Why a third?"
He replied, "One's absurd!
And bigamy, Sir, is a crime."

These rhymes were designed by a priest
To affect you religious like yeast.
If they help you to grow,
Like the yeast in the dough.
There'll be one better Christian at least.

There was a young fellow named Hammer
Whose had an unfortunate stammer
"The b-bane of my life"
Said he, "Is m-m-my wife
D-d-d-d-d-d-damn er !"

I sat next to the Duchess at tea,
Distressed as a person could be.
Her rumblings abdominal
Were simply phenomenal
And everyone thought it was me.

There was a pert young lass of Madras
Who had a remarkable ass.
Not rounded and pink
As you'd probably think.
It was gray, had long ears and ate grass.

A sensitive girl named O'Neil
Once went up in the big Ferris wheel.
But when half-way around
She looked down at the ground
And it cost her a two dollar meal.

A canner exceedingly canny
One morning remarked to his granny
"A canner can can
Anything that he can
But a canner can't can a can, can he?"

A professional diver named Lee
Makes jumps which the crowd pays to see.
Once he plunged from an oak
Drawing cheers from the folk,
For his shorts remained hung in the tree.

An elephant born in Tibet
One day in its cage wouldn't get.
So its keeper stood near -
Stuck a hose in its rear,
And invented the first jumbo jet.


Bereavement Poems

Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

~ Mary Elizabeth Frye


Zen Koans

Christian Buddha

One of master Gasan's monks visited the university in Tokyo. When he returned, he asked the master if he had ever read the Christian Bible. "No," Gasan replied, "Please read some of it to me." The monk opened the Bible to the Sermon on the Mount in St. Matthew, and began reading. After reading Christ's words about the lilies in the field, he paused. Master Gasan was silent for a long time. "Yes," he finally said, "Whoever uttered these words is an enlightened being. What you have read to me is the essence of everything I have been trying to teach you here!"

(In another version of this story, it is a Christian who reads the Bible passage to Gasan.)

People's reactions to this story:

"It's so sad that wars are fought over differences in "religion," when in reality all the world's religions are saying the same essential things. If nations really took religion to heart, so many lives would be saved."

"If what is true for you is true, and what is true for me is true, than really nothing is true. If there are no absolutes in the universe higher than our own opinions or experiences, than we live on an ever shifting sand. True truth is true whether we know it, or believe it. It is absolute, unchanging, and independent of our reactions to it. God is God and we are not him. I believe this story is an attempt to dilute the hard division line that the Bible deliberately draws. Our culture trys to offer solutions that do not offend anyone. I wonder how Master Gasan would react to Christ's words "no one may come to the Father but by me." Or "the kingdom of heaven advances violently, and violent men lay hold of it."?

"I think this is saying that a great lesson can come out of one short story. Something that someone is searching for desperately can be revealed in one simple story."

"This story held no interest for me. I don't believe in the existence of God and therefore believe that the Bible is a bunch of bologna!"

"Universalism is an extremely faulty world view. All the worlds religions do not teach the same thing. Religion is not about being good to your fellow man, or doing nice things to other people. So many of these comments seem to think that because most religions teach that, in general, you should'nt kill people, and you should'nt steal, and that you should feed the poor, etc., that its all the same thing. That misses the point entirely, and trivializes a vast amount of the most deeply held beliefs of the world's populace. Religion is about what you are, or at least the part of you that is you and not just molecules combined together in unique ways. The most important question that religion tries to answer are "How should we act towards other people?" but "How should we act towards God?" How we act towards others is a by-product of our relationship to the Divine." "There is only One God!"

"Master Gasan found a pleasant verse. How would he have responded to less beautiful Revelations or Oholibah in Ezekial 23:10."

"Every religion has an awareness of the basic ethical principles that govern humanity. Anything else that a religion teaches is not about the human but about the divine."

"There is nothing even slightly Zen about this 'story.' It is an embarrassing, childish attempting to usurp the notion of Zen to endorse an unenlightened acceptance of Christian dogma without study, introspection, or question. Sad you published it. I admire both Christ and Buddah greatly, but this is catechism, rote dogma, not enlightenment."

"I think Gasan was so relieved that he finally got his point across to the monks!"

"This situation is similar to thinking about different races. People may look different on the outside, but when you look on the inside, everyone is basically the same."

"This story gives me a feeling of unity with everyone - I like that."

"This story is BORING! It begins nowhere and ends the same way. Shouldn't the essence of his teachings be understandable so we all can be enlightened as well? Master Gasan sounds like a fake or a very poor teacher"

"It sounds like Master Gasan has no idea of what he is talking about."

"Different people may be trying to convey the same message to others, but are going about it in different ways. I think that's good - diversity is good."

"We should always be learning. No one knows everything."

"Anyone can be a teacher."

"Gasan realizes that the monk's might become interested in what the Bible says, so he tries to act like he understands and believes in the Bible. He is trying to get the monks to respect him and think that these words and thoughts were also his."

"Cultural prejudices prevent us from seeing the Universals. It is irrational to think that a different truth applies to everyone."

"All races across the world are teaching the same ideas through religion, but one person's way of teaching may differ from another."

"I think the story is trying to say that we can ALL be right - or that sometimes a person needs to leave their usual surroundings in order to see and understand what's in front of their face."

"How could Master Gasan never have read the Bible? Maybe that's the point of the story - even a Zen master can be illiterate."

"I read this story twice and didn't like it. I felt like I needed more, but I wasn't sure what."

"This story seems choppy and unfinished."

"'Lillies of the field' is a rather zen story, encouraging naturalness acceptance of being."

"It is interesting that when presented with the Bible, the Master was open to listening. I don't find the same to be true when the situation is reversed, . It feels very comfortable to me to be Buddhist and still feel at peace with others who do not share my views."

"Maybe the point is that we don't need Bibles OR Zen teachers to find enlightenment. We already have it within ourselves."

"This comment is not about the story but about the other comments: Taken collectively, they illustrate Martin Luther's observation, 'A book is like a mirror -- if an ape looks in, no saint will look out!'"



One day while walking through the wilderness a man stumbled upon a vicious tiger. He ran but soon came to the edge of a high cliff. Desperate to save himself, he climbed down a vine and dangled over the fatal precipice. As he hung there, two mice appeared from a hole in the cliff and began gnawing on the vine. Suddenly, he noticed on the vine a plump wild strawberry. He plucked it and popped it in his mouth. It was incredibly delicious!

(One reader claimed that Thomas Cleary once told him that the original ending of this story was quite different. According to Cleary, D.T. Suzuki changed the ending because he thought the original would not appeal to Westerners. The story was then picked up by others, such as Paul Reps. In the original version, the strawberry turns out to be, in fact, deadly poison.)

People's reactions to this story:

"After having only 5 hours of sleep I understand now. 'Live life to the fullest!'"

"'Eat, drink, and be merry; for tomorrow we die!' Not sure who to credit the quote, but it seems to apply."

"Live each moment to the full. The plight the man was in was no reason not to enjoy the wild strawberry."

"The man knew that he was about to die, and that there was nothing he could do about it. The strawberry was his last chance to enjoy life so instead of wasting his last moments in fear and frustration he took what little pleasure he could and made the best of it."

"Enlightenment can be found in distraction from distraction. The Universe is now! And strawberries are delicious."

"The most thought provoking story yet. We get so caught up with ourselves we assume the world around us changes. Why should the strawberry taste different?"

"I think most people take meaning of living in present as 'Don't worry about what next'. I think he was not living in present. He was living in past when he liked the fruit very much or future by thinking he may not get the fruit again. But the present was how to save his life."

"Aren't we all hanging from a fragile vine awaiting an inevitable plunge to doom while mice gnaw at our temporary safety? What else should we do but eat a strawberry?"

"This story puts me in mind of the band playing as the Titanic sank. There is something cloyingly 'live in the present moment' about it, BUT, on the other hand, why didn't the man throw the stawberry at the mice?"

"It's clear why the strawberry was delicious. I would think that mice would've been even more delicious at that point."

"The man should have taken those damn mice with him!"

"Perhaps if the man had thought to give the mice the strawberry then they would not knaw on the vine and he would live, but instead he was self absorbed and so he was destined to fall."

"The tiger is the past. The two mice are day and time which slowly kill us. And the cliff is the future. The strawberry is the present. Forget the past, not worry the future, and concentrate in the present moment. Only by that way can we live happily."

"I heard this story but it was a little different, not only did he face a lion but a bear jumped at his feet while two ground hogs nibbled at his branch just at the momoment the branch would break he noticed a plump ripe strawberry - aah delicious. My view - no matter the memories of yesterday or the anticipation of tommorrow or even the events of the day remember to always enjoy the moment."

"Hmmm. The story 'Cliffhanger' is very similar to a Jain parable I read once. The parable was supposed to embody the Jainist view of the world. There was also a sword wielding demoness, the cliff was replaced by a pit full of snakes and the strawberry was a dollop of wild honey. the tiger represented old age, the demoness: illness and infirmity. The honey represented the fleeting pleasures of life."

"The vine represents the reality that we live in every day. The tigers are the fear, stress and lack of focus in our lives that interfere with our desire to achieve peace and that is represented by the field. We are forced by our fear out of the peace of our field into grasping to the vine that is reality. The mice are the thoughts of good and evil and the deeper nature of man that we try to ignore but constantly gnaw at our consciousness and effect our grip on reality. The strawberry is the true nature of the smaller things in life. The true value of these things is not truly appreciated until we are forced from our stagnant peace by our fears and confront ourselves, then we can truly appreciate what our reality has to offer us."

"People have a tendency to focus too much on the bad things that are happening, and don't take enough time to see that there is beauty right in front of them. If you grasp the beauty in a dark situation, you will be happy."

"Wonderful. I admire the man who is able to embrace the moment, and who, regardless of circumstance, realizes the moment is sweet. If one must die, said one ought to go with pleasure on the toungue. This is wisdom."

"Everything tastes sweeter when you know it is your last."

"Is this what it takes to appreciate wonderful?"

"Life is beautiful! It's a shame that we realize it just in very extreme situations."

"In the worst of adversity, it is always important to enjoy the little pleasures in life. Urgency of life, love, the heat of the soul, warm breath to keep the demons on their toes. Everything seems to go faster and become more important daily, whilst at the same time becoming harder to fathom. -- MORCHEEBA liner notes"

"Enjoy beauty while you can."

"What a story! Indeed, it points out that the essence of zen must be to live until you are dead!"

"Two possibilities: (1) even in the midst of tremendous adversity, a truly enlightened person knows how to Be Here Now; or (2) this guy was in a serious state of denial. These two possibilities seem to be polar opposites leading to the same result."


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