Friday, July 29, 2011

Black Crows at Dawn

Were I to engage in recriminations,

I would have only myself to berate,

Wasting all those years in

Coming and going,

All that time spent on this and that.

Dear readers, list while I sing,

Sit Zazen while you are still young!

Now grown old and quirky,

My seated body squawks and complains,

Like the cranky black crows

That gather at my window,

Daily with the dawn.

"Caw! Caw!"

Every Monday morning I arise at 5 AM to take a bone density medicine that requires I have an empty stomach and that I must remain upright for at least a half hour after taking. I find it to be a good opportunity to do a little pre-dawn meditation. Meditating with a mind that has not yet been engaged in performing tasks or conversations can be a very powerful practice.

But, if undisturbed by thought, my early morning mind seems to be more closely connected to my aging body's aches and pains, especially if the night has been a cool one. At such times I sometimes wish I had practiced seated meditation more regularly when I was young and in better shape, perhaps I wouldn't find the discomfort quite so distracting if I had. Perhaps such thoughts are just black crows themselves, reflexive complaints that come as predictably as the dawn.

After I've been sitting in my darkened room awhile, "rosy fingered dawn" begins to make her appearance through the curtains, and with her come her raucous heralds, a flock of crows that make their home in the trees surrounding our Lone Oak manse. Bela Lugosi's Dracula famously observes of his baying wolves "Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!" Let me tell you, Dracula's night children have nothing on our "children of the dawn"! Their song is hard to ignore.

I wish to thank Jiyu Jake Gage, Sensei, for the inclusion of the actual song of the crows as the last line here. I often present first draft poems aloud to him at the Vista Zen Center first thing in the morning. "Caw! Caw!" was his immediate response and a good one, I think. It adds a touch of the real and the immediate moment, bringing the lines up to the "now".

Today's image is from an unattributed fine art print I found through Google Images, "Black Crows Gathering"