Zen Koan Poem (With Bird, Fly, Buzz)

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Zen Koan Poem

So, what IS the sound of one hand

I tell myself that I can answer
and just not think about it anymore,
when I hear a fly buzz, I
myself from a good quick
with the swatter and, instead,
let it out
through the screen.

The same with
the spider in the bathroom that,
rather than squish, I
in a releasing

I make no promises



I hesitate to post the above photo, especially in the context of a Zen Koan poem, because it makes yours truly look like a bona fide meditator.  (I most regrettably  am not.)  The little bird who landed on my head, however, was not aware that it was catching me on a rare attempt.  It stayed for about five minutes (ensuring some measure of stillness on my part and the need to wash that baseball cap.)

The poem was written for the “Zen Koan” prompt by Kerry O’Connor of  With Real Toads. Kerry’s post  beautifully exemplifies a rarefied form combining Koan and poetry.  Mine owes a great deal to Terry Pratchett, the wonderful British satirist, and in my opinion, Zen master (if not, perhaps, Zen practitioner.)


P.S. If you have the time and are in the mood for something silly or elephantine, check out my books!  Children’s counting book 1 Mississippi -for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms,  Going on Somewhere, poetry, or  Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape.

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16 Comments on “Zen Koan Poem (With Bird, Fly, Buzz)”

  1. janehewey Says:

    come on!!! this is amazing. there is more than one way to meditate, you know! i love the poem too.

  2. LOL! Fun poem, and I sure wasn’t expecting that ending. 🙂

  3. I thought this wonderfully zen, in its call for harmony with nature. I’m with you on the saving spiders in the bath and Terry Pratchett as guru too.

  4. David King Says:

    Superb, it simply took me along with it. No ifs, buts or caveats!

  5. I like the word breaks here….the sounds are creatively penned…Very nice share K ~

  6. I liked this a lot – it’s quirky and clever.

  7. This is such fun to read……….does the mosquito perhaps need an Advocate at your house? I could alert the rescue network, hee hee.

  8. hedgewitch Says:

    What a cool photo–regardless of the subsequent laundry issues. And the poem has that respect for life, in even its less attractive forms, that I do associate with buddhism (and also identify with–there are very few creatures I’m comfortable with killing) the dropped letters circle back to the ambiguity of the original koan, and the whole thing is neatly turned out. And I like the Zen masters who are not necessarily practitioners the best, personally. ;_)

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Well I confess to using Terry Pratchett’s idea with the sound of one hand clapping being “cla-” so mean to give him credit for that (but only the Pratchett cognoscenti would probably get my reference.) . He is the funniest writer ever; unfortunately, now has early-onset Alzheimer’s.

  9. Marian Says:

    Williams College? i work at Amherst. 🙂

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Funny! and goes great with the picture.

  11. Mama Zen Says:

    This is so fun!

  12. brian miller Says:

    haha def some good fun k…lol…and i like the picture…smiles…

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