there is this . . .

am i dreamer
or is dream dreaming me

does it matter after all, if i am or i am not

does sun feel the heat of day
does light see its image in the dark
during rain, do fish absorb more water
and would brown bear rather be horse

does it matter after all, the curiosities

when fish and water are one
when light and dark are indistinguishable
when brown bear is neither content nor discontent
when questions cease and ideologies melt
when there is no helping and no taking
. . . there is this


The artwork here is an ensō, which in Zen Buddhism is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited strokes. It is meant to express that moment when the mind is still, allowing for creation. It symbolizes enlightenment. I find it visually and spiritually elegant. I appreciate its spare message and the void it represents, called mu. Those of us from the Abrahamic traditions frequently misunderstand this concept and think it is negative and depressing. It's not.

The ensō is done as a part of spiritual practice and it is a kind of meditation in the way that all creative efforts are meditation. It is a wonderful example of the Japanese aesthetic, wabi-sabi. In that spirit, I kept the poem simple and included white space in the layout.

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day), All rights reserved; illustration ~ Ensõ , calligraphy by Kanjuro Shibata XX via Jordan Langeller under CC SA 3.0 unported

Categories: Joy peace poem


  1. jrcowles said on November 25, 2015
    This is a keeper ... wish we could sit down and talk through this. There are deep, DEEP connections, also, with Douglas Hofstadter's "Goedel, Escher, Bach" on the nature of consciousness as a capacity for self-reflection ... yet with no "self" to do the "reflecting". Again, as you said, Abrahamic traditions find this nihilistic & pessimistic -- which it is on a rational / discursive / "noetic" level, but on the "existential" / experiential level is DEEPLY liberating. Anyway ... thanks!!!
    1. Jamie Dedes said on November 25, 2015
      LOL! I think you might find me a bit simple. Thank you for your wonderful comment, James. Best wishes for a lovely Gratitude Day.
  2. slpmartin said on November 25, 2015
    Quite enjoyed starting my day with this verse and post...thanks Jamie.
    1. Jamie Dedes said on November 25, 2015
      Thank you, Charlie, for saying so. Best wishes for a lovely Gratitude Day.

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