Ahimsa (“Returning To The Country For A Brief Visit”)

Old-one the dog stretches stiff-legged,
soon he’ll be underground. Spring’s first fat bee
buzzes yellow over the new grass  and dead leaves
What’s this little brown insect walking zigzag
Over the sunny white page of Su Tung-P’O‘s Poem?
Fly away, tiny mite, even your life is tender —
I lift the book and blow you into the dazzling

Allen Ginsberg  4/20/73

Springtime 1973 Cherry Valley meditations (but also fitting for a long hot summer’s afternoon).

(on) –  “I do not know who is hoarding all this rare work.”

(from Allen’s “Annotations to Amitendranath Tagore‘s Sung Poetry”, one of nine such annotations – (the full poem-sequence is included in the 1977 collection, Mind Breaths))

Allen, interviewed by  Guy Amirthanayagam,  October 1997 – (from Writers in East-West Encounter – New Cultural Bearings

Allen, the question I would like to begin with is, what effect do you think your interest in Buddhism has has on your recent poetry?

AG: Well, the title of my most recent book is Mind Breaths; and that relates to an increased awareness of mind, bodhi, awakening mind, through meditative attention to breath, which is the basis of zazen, or sitting meditation practice. So the poetry then becomes  conscious of mind and breath; poems as thought-forms rising in the mind, projected outward into the world on the breath. Breath is a basic notion in poetry. Buddhist interest also brought my attention to older models like Classical Chinese poetry – I’ll read you an example of that rather than talk about it. “Returning to the Country For a Brief Visit” was written on the margin of a book of poems by Sung Dynasty poets. I was imitating their style.

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