Wednesday, February 1, 2012

winter dreams and butterflys


Evening. A fire
in the grate and a fire
outside, where a robin
is burning. How they both
sing, offering a friendship
unacceptable to the hand
that is as vulnerable to the one
as it is treacherous to the other.

Ah, time, enemy of their music,
reducing fuel to feathers, feathers
to ash, it was, but a moment ago,
spring in this tinder: flames
in flower that are now embers
on song's hearth.
The leaves fall
from a dark tree, brimming
with shadow, fall on one who,
as Borges suggested,
is no more perhaps than the dream God
in his loneliness is dreaming.

~ R. S. Thomas
from  Mass for Hard Times

You have wakened not out of sleep, 
but into a prior dream, 
and that dream lies within another, and so on, 
to infinity, which is the number of grains of sand. 
The path that you are to take is endless, 
and you will die before you have truly awakened.

~ Jorge Luis Borges

Once Chuang Tzu dreamt  he was a butterfly, 
a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, 
happy with himself and doing as he pleased. 
 He didn't know he was Chuang Tzu. 
 Suddenly he woke up and there he was, 
solid and unmistakable Chuang Tzu. 

 But he didn't know if he was Chuang Tzu who had dreamt he was a butterfly, 
or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Tzu.

~ Chuang Tzu
from The Complete Chuang Tzu
translated by Burton Watson