Category Archives: poetry

Jun 6 – “Happiness is right in front of you.” *

Someone recently said, “You look happier these days, what’s different?”

Today’s senryu: “Happiness is right in front of you.” *

looking at you or

at myself thinking of you

i can’t help but smile


Three references inform today’s post:

  1. This beautiful quote* from Hafez (aka Hafiz), “Happiness is right in front of you.” For more information about this inspirational Persian poet see
  2. Went looking for a picture that might best express the happiness that becomes visible to others without you even saying a word. Found the delightful picture at the top of this post attached to a great article from Pia Crosby, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. (See
  3. And most importantly, there is you. Thank you for reading this, thank you for your energy and enthusiasm that regenerates me, and thank you for your beautiful smiles.

June 2 – Everybody Loves a Lover

Is love contagious? Is love addictive? What is love? Big subject.

Today’s senryu: Everybody Loves a Lover

love begins with you

or is it me – no, it’s us

I mean, love’s lovely


Two references below might pique your interest:

First, an interesting Healthline article by Crystal Raypole titled 15 Ways Love Affects Your Brain and Body (see

Second, the 1958 hit song lyrics from Richard Adler, Everybody Loves a Lover

May 30 – Time as a Sacrament

Today’s senryu: Time as a Sacrament

one moment with you

relative and ultimate

love in an eye blink


Two references inform today’s love poem, Sister Joan Chittister and Thich Nhat Hanh:

Definition of contemplative – a person who seeks to remove distractions to focus on essentials, fond of silence and solitude, thoughtful and prudent, suspicious of ego, and full of praise for the feeling of divine presence (

Definition of time – the continued sequence of existence and events that occurs in an apparently irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future (

Definition of sacrament – the sacred nature of things (

Definition of God – the supreme or ultimate reality (

Thich Nhat Hanh speaks of relative and ultimate truth which elaborates on a moment of time and eternity:

When we look at the ocean, we see that each wave has a beginning and an end. A wave can be compared with other waves, and we can call it more or less beautiful, higher or lower, longer lasting or less long lasting. But if we look more deeply, we see that a wave is made of water. While living the life of a wave, it also lives the life of water. It would be sad if the wave did not know that it is water. It would think, “Someday, I will have to die. This period of time is my life span, and when I arrive at the shore, I will return to nonbeing.” These notions will cause the wave fear and anguish. We have to help it remove the notions of self, person, living being, and life span if we want the wave to be free and happy.

A wave can be recognized by signs—high or low, beginning or ending, beautiful or ugly. But in the world of the water, there are no signs. In the world of relative truth, the wave feels happy as she swells, and she feels sad when she falls. She may think, “I am high,” or “I am low,” and develop a superiority or inferiority complex. But when the wave touches her true nature—which is water—all her complexes will cease, and she will transcend birth and death.

We become arrogant when things go well, and we are afraid of falling, or being low or inadequate. But these are relative ideas, and when they end, a feeling of completeness and satisfaction arises. Liberation is the ability to go from the world of signs to the world of true nature. We need the relative world of the wave [emphasis mine], but we also need to touch the water, the ground of our being, to have real peace and joy [and this is what so many contemporary people lack]. We shouldn’t allow relative truth to imprison us and keep us from touching absolute truth. Looking deeply into relative truth, we penetrate the absolute. Relative and absolute truths inter-embrace. Both truths, relative and absolute, have a value.” from Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching (Broadway Books: 1998), 124-125.

May 29 – “Our Life Is Our Path”

Today’s senryu: Our Life Is Our Path

How did I get here?

Where am I going today?

I pause, breathe and smile.

If I had to label my spiritual path, Zen Christian comes close to describing it. This Summer I’m scheduled to be “ordained,” first as an Interspecies, Interspiritual Animal Chaplain through Compassion Consortium and later as a lay brother in the Order of Interbeing, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Tradition.

Below are two quotes which explain how I see my Zen Christian practice today.

First, “to be a human being is to be a knower and a lover of nature and spirit, because to be human is to be both.” Dr. Christopher Baglow (

The second quote comes from Thich Nhat Hanh:

We enter the path of practice through the door of knowledge, perhaps from a Dharma talk or a book. We continue along the path, and our suffering lessens, little by little. But at some point, all of our concepts and ideas must yield to our actual experience. Words and ideas are only useful if they are put into practice. When we stop discussing things and begin to realize the teachings in our own life, a moment comes when we realize that our life is the path, and we no longer rely merely on the forms of practice. Our action becomes ‘non-action,’ and our practice becomes ‘non-practice.‘” from The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh (c) Broadway Books, p.122

Thích Nhất Hạnh was a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist who lived in southwest France where he was in exile for many years. Born Nguyễn Xuân Bảo, Thích Nhất Hạnh joined a Zen monastery at the age of 16 and studied Buddhism as a novitiate. Upon his ordination as a monk in 1949, he assumed the Dharma name Thích Nhất Hạnh. Thích is an honorary family name used by all Vietnamese monks and nuns, meaning that they are part of the Shakya (Shakyamuni Buddha) clan. He was often considered the most influential living figure in the lineage of Lâm Tế (Vietnamese Rinzai) Thiền, and perhaps also in Zen Buddhism as a whole.”

May 28 – One Day Later

Today’s senryu: One Day Later

recall yesterday

imagine tomorrow and

please live for today

There are twelve songs on the RAM tracklist.

What’s your favorite song from this album?

How ’bout The Back Seat of My Car?

May 27 – Imagine

Spirituality is not always calming or peaceful. In fact, many spiritual teachers are killed for their provocative teachings.

Was John Lennon a spiritual teacher?

On this day, we remember John Lennon and his song “Imagine”.

Today’s senryu: Imagine

careful what you think

and more careful what you say

someone might hear you

May 26 – Let Me Not Despair

despair, sadness icon @

Eagerly looking forward to a special day and then life intervened; plans upended. So, now what?

Today’s senryu: Let Me Not Despair

life sucks then I’ll die

or let go and practice love

let me not despair

Reality has a way of “robbing our joy” but we don’t have to surrender to pessimism. Here are four references that informed the senryu above:

First is the continuation of Matthew Fox’ message on how to “move from pessimism to creativity

“Where true self-love is meager, our love of the world will be meager. “Love others as you love yourself,” advised Jesus. But if our love of self is shallow, the love we put into the world will be also. And the world is so strong in its various misdirected loves that our weak and shallow love will be easily drowned in the energies of that world.” from Rank and Rich on Moving from Pessimism to Creativity, Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox, May 26, 2023 (

Second is an Al Jazeera video on how advertising sells us through low self-esteem.

We are told 3500 times a day how deficient and lame we are.” quote from Jonah Sachs (

Third, a motivational quote from JFK.

Finally, a favorite album.

May 26 – The Separation Union Spectrum

Looking for a little “light” reading for this holiday weekend? How ’bout this?

PushmePullyou – Why bother with either or both of these signs @

Today’s love poem: The Separation Union Spectrum

I’d rather cling to you than cling to the past:

…. how does here and now rank for you?

…….. how will we creatively experience our one life?

………… how will we assert our relationship?


So, yesterday’s Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox was especially provocative for me. (see

Fox’s message is a synthesis of Otto Rank, Aquinas, Rumi, Meister Eckhart and Julian of Norwich wisdom with the “throat grabbing” hook: “pessimism is a philosophy of hatred that springs from self-hate.” Wow, “must read” or “must listen” for me!

Matthew’s reflections also led to a wonderful “rabbit hole” to the Otto Rank Wikipedia page. (See

Otto Rank, aka the “father of humanistic psychology“, is known for his writings on creative will and relationship & existential therapy. Something else worth checking out when you have the time.

May 25 – One Beauty, Three Buddies

Today’s pupryu: One Beauty, Three Buddies

thank you grass and tree

for your shaded comfort on

this hot Spring morning

I was fortunate to walk four dogs yesterday in downtown St. Louis: Tic Tac, Mr. Pants, Nectarine and Revolver. What a joy on this mid-80-degree (F) day.

Tic Tac – a gorgeous lady – 7yr. old 55lb. female Terrier

Mr. Pants – a Pit Bull on a Corgi body

Nectarine – a joyful tripod – 3yrs. old 42lbs. male Terrier

Revolver – an energetic playmate – 2yr. old 48lbs. male Terrier


In the right home, each of these dogs would be a furever fur friend.

If you cannot adopt a dog, please adopt an animal rescue shelter.