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Category Archives: Prose/Short Story

The Bell Without A Clangor

Note: clapper rings a bell while clangor is a continuous loud banging or ringing sound.

“Searching for the truth

through words and speech

is like sticking your head

in a bowl of glue.”

                                    Yuan-Wu

I left my house this morning in anger and confusion; about a life that has become greater in my mind than who I am.

Looming in illusions, I am unable to crack the barrier between the mirror of interior love and that of external desire.

I took a foggy path on wet dew grass, pushing dripping ferns on a dreary cloudy day, leading me into the dark forest green. Entering, I brushed aside pine branches, crushing small pinecones as I passed on a carpet of fallen pine needles. Unknowingly, I arrived in a small misty clearing.

I sat on a large old timbered oak stump. I put my head in my hands, placing my elbows on my knees, my mind and senses still frantic and frenzied in complete clamor, when in a moment of silence, I heard a distinct thud. Then I heard, a very pronounced, with authority, a very loud but distant thump!

I quickly looked north, south, east, and west. I found nothing but myself, placing my head back in my hands I spied a small clay bell rolling, settling between my feet. With one foot, I pushed it aside thoughtlessly, across the flat ground into a divot of soil.

As quickly as I had pushed it aside, it rolled back at my feet with a very pronounced upright thump. “Good morning, kind sir.” I heard in a hollow tone. Startled, I again looked around to see who was approaching me. There was no one to be found and now I was questioning if there was even a sound. “Excuse me, good sir!” I heard again. Was I losing my mind, hearing voices I could not see?  “Ahem, gracious sir, I am, at your feet!”

 I looked down to see a small white and bluish gray clay bell speak. I said a small prayer and blessed myself. I said good-bye to the mind I had, and hoped somewhere along the line, in time, this conscious brain and I would somehow meet again.

Mind gone blank, losing all common sense and scattering my gloomy personal burden, I spoke without thinking. “And a good morning to you too, and may I ask, what in heaven’s name are you doing here by yourself? In nowhere!”  She answered, “I have lost my clangor and without a sound, I have been disregarded. Now, I wait in silence for a sound, waiting to be found.

 I heard you coming, but, my first impression was disappointment. You are so much taller and bigger than I am. And you walk like a banger and a bonger and I am much too fragile for that tone asunder!”

         Suddenly my heart sank— swallowing my mind; I shrank to the size of nothing —when mystically we seemed to both hear a tone. I picked up the clay bell and walked back down the path I came. The sun began to shine and my path opened wide.

Ever since that morning, I seemed to have escaped the illusions of being bigger, or taller, or even smaller than I am. Smiling I walk without clangor and without confusion or anger; as my white and bluish gray clay bell sits on my dresser, dusted and ringing a silent tone together.

(Without the hearts sound of clamor,

humbled and silenced,

 I have learned to quiet my mind

and to speak with a voice

in the tone —of my own bell).

This clay bell was gifted to me by Judy Ann Kline, a very gifted potter. [Wilmington Vt.,/ N. Hampton NH.] And I re-gifted it to the parents of my sixth grand child, a grand-daughter due in January 2919

 

rev8:2018 ZQ/RKG

 
14 Comments

Posted by on December 8, 2018 in Prose/Short Story, Zen

 

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An Autumn’s Juxtaposition: The Spiders In The House Plant

My houseplants have been on the porch all summer.

The moon, white as vanilla, sends an evening chill

announcing a late October frost.

They must be carried inside, some hung

from my kitchen’s skylight windows.

 

Picking them up and carrying them through the porch, we welcomed each other.

As I open the storm door, I thought I heard a tiny critter voice chatter;

barely heard, but definitely noticed on the right side from my good ear,

inviting me to look closely at the plants. But, I chose

to quickly put them down on the porch floor.

 

I was a little concerned about my state of mind.

A worry, I must admit, since I was born.

 

Peering cautiously through the leaves of the one plant on the right side,

I spied a silver spider web laced between stems and leaves.

On closer inspection, I saw two critters with long skinny legs;

one in the center of the web and the other, on its furthest edge.

In the center, standing on six of his eight legs,

with one hand on his hip and another extended towards me,

I believe, to introduce himself with a hand or whatever I was supposed to shake.

Without hesitation, he began to speak, quite clearly, in my one good ear.

“Hey! Big Guy!

Bigger of biggest fellows!

I apologize for my intrusion your glorious immensity.

Speaking for the half of which I represent;

This of course, includes only me, for the other half has not yet agreed.

I am asking for your support in avoiding the outside tonight

and perhaps throughout the next two seasons.

For me, big guy, you show wisdom, compassion and a good taste in women.

I plead for you to save us, me and the little lady, where we could be killed

or die freezing outside. We are the third generation that has shared

 this house and we do wish to continue to abide.

 Love the light! Love the dark! Love what you have done inside.”

 

Startled as he spoke I felt dumbfounded,

out of breath, without words in the bellows.

 “Hey you! Snap out of it! Hey! Big Guy! Bigger of biggest fellows!

 I have just heard from the other half. The Mrs. has also agreed to plead

quietly to you. Asking for the joy to watch the early seasons go by…

 weaving harmlessly among the leaves”.

Aghast, with natural concern, I pushed the plant away from my face.

I picked them up, still a little suspicious of the others,

I hurriedly brought them all inside, two at a time.

 

 

I made a pot a coffee; setting a cup in a saucer with a spoon,

sugar, and next to them, a carton of cream.

 

 

In the dimming light of late autumn

I placed the spider plant on the kitchen table.

Facing the shiny silver web, we started talking away

with spinning yarns and silver threads of family and friends;

all of whom have lived here. Reminiscing, laughing, I, drinking fresh coffee

and they, drinking from teacups, with warm evenings dew.

 

(We spoke about our parents, grandparents,

children, and all the visiting inhabitants.

Some I never knew existed and some apparently they ate.

I have yet to meet the others that are staying here;

evidently, they have cousins from the fiddleheads estate,

having arrive earlier, deciding to winter in the cellar downstairs.)

 
 

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The Ghost of Alonzo

     After a late Easter Vigil Mass; Alonzo and I crept and crawled under the beds of sleeping friends in the “Big Boys” dormitory at the Orphanage. Sister St. Jean was in her rocking chair sound asleep. Hearing her snore, was our cue to slip out of our beds, stuff the pillows under the blankets to make it look, from a distance, we were still asleep.

     Shushing each other with a finger over our lips we doubled checked Sister St. Jean, to see if she was still there, in the creaking rocking chair. She was assigned every other Friday night to guard the dormitory room. We knew, as usual on that night, that she would be out like a light before the first shine of the moon. We had her in our first class that morning, when the first bell rang.

     Waiting for her infamous rhythmic bass sound, and the silence of the chair on opposite sides of the well-lit hallway, divided by the Holy snore, in its silence, we met. Pointing at the doubled doors, which were opened for the warm spring air and the moon that was brightly illuminating the escaping concrete stairs.

    We tiptoed down, hanging on to each other’s hands and the other on the rails. Then we ran independently through wet grass with our heels sticking slightly into the mud of the warm spring garden before we climbed the fence between the two brick walls. I chipped my tooth as I fell on the other side. Alonzo picked me up, shook my hand and never saying good-bye, continued to run past me as he was waving one arm.

     Looking around, finding myself outside, I walked the long block around the orphanage at least twenty or thirty times. Circling many times, I was getting to know my way better each time. Eventually I understood and had to resign, that I had no place to go, now. And the sun was beginning to rise after my adventure that began after sundown. I knocked on the front door where I once entered several years ago, to go back, again inside. As I went in, walking back to the dormitory, I could hear the corridors murmur, “he has found away to leave here”.

They will serve my meal

I have found the heart of thorns

                                     may I find the way.

**

Stood the Archangel

with the serpent under foot

                                          handing me her sword.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on June 2, 2018 in Existential, Haibun, Prose/Short Story, religion, Zen

 

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The Illumination of Beatrice in the Glass cube

Town Hall meeting in ZoralinQ NH 1864

Moderator has yielded to an open floor:

Young Woman (who taunted Beatrice) rose and walked to the center of the assembly in the Middle aisle:

Thank you Moderator for allowing me to speak on behalf of my acknowledgment— that I will  never be friends with Beatrice nor will anyone else in this settlement.

            Pain in harmony with joy— is in the world we choose. One cannot be without the other. However, the joys of love without the souls acceptance, made Beatrice seem shallow, mired in the misunderstanding that settled in her heart.

            Laugher’s joy was often at her expense; causing confusion— what laughter was, or, for that matter, for her, what it really meant. Beatrice learned to be silent, as everything in her life was her fault, always her accident. Reprimanded, then silenced.

            Assembly, I am not here to fill in all the details I found within her copious notes, but I do want to read for you—  from the small piece of white cardboard that Beatrice wrote. (Looking at the moderator as he nods approval).  I believe she left this behind for me. To help me understand what I had seen, all of us watching her leave—  in a Royal Carriage, fit for a Queen.   

Young Woman holding a white piece of cardboard begins to read:

            “Every evening just after dusk, I prepared myself for bed. Knowing I would sleep, again, in a mysterious space hidden only in my head; unable to be found during the light of day. Not that I was afraid, it had been repetitious for some time. The mounting source of my anxiety was waiting for what I had to accept, when and how it ended.

                                    Sleep would capture me in a glass cube. At first, it would hold me a short time then melt away during my sleep leaving me with pleasant memories, of myself in a glass cube. Each night however, I was held in that glass tube longer and longer until I was released just before daybreak. Each time, as always, I remained silent, though this time I awoke with a gasp.

                                    A few nights ago, the moment I fell to sleep, I found myself already captured, in the floating glass cube. But, this time at the bottom, water was starting to trickle in. I assumed it was a stream of illusion from another dream.

                                   As the night wore on, the water was filling the square of the cube unable to speak or scream I began hitting the glass with my feet and hands trying to break the glass. As the water continued to rise by feet broken and my hands bloody with muscle and flesh showing— I saw a bright light, so blinding I thought it was the light of eternity. I still do not know if I was in the water or above the water when the light began to dim, fading; it illuminated the cube as it shattered, and drained.

                                    I awoke unscathed to an open window with the breeze blowing the curtains, creating a strobe that flashed a soft incoming new day’s sun. I went to my desk and wrote you this note wishing you a better life and a peace sublime”.

~Beatrice~

Young Woman, as she returned to her seat, several other young people stood up, one at a time, each repeating :

           “I believe she left that behind— for ME. To help me understand what I had seen, watching her leave— in a Royal Carriage, fit for a Queen”.           

 
16 Comments

Posted by on October 22, 2017 in Prose/Short Story, short story, Spiritual, Theater

 

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