Beautiful evening, deadly evening



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“Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge”

In a 1710 “Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge,” the Irish philosopher George Berkeley objected to this view. We do not know the world of objects, he argued; we know only our mental ideas of objects. “Light and colours, heat and cold, extension and figures—in a word, the things we see and feel—what are they but so many sensations, notions, ideas?” Indeed, he concluded, the objects of the world are likely just inventions of the mind, put in there by God. To which Samuel Johnson famously responded by kicking a large stone and declaring, “I refute it thus!”

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There are rules and you gotta have rules

“There are rules and you gotta have rules….”  - Mateo

This is a quote by me which is actually a misquote of Kevin Bacon from the movie Sleepers; “You gotta have rules and you gotta have discipline.”  

Over 15 years ago I misquoted this line during a warm spring night in Toledo, Spain when the calimocho had been running a little too freely for the past couple of hours.  Well, it stuck and has been an inside joke between a friend and I for these past 15 years.  

I believe it stuck because we are both are intelligent enough to look upon many of the rules in our society as simply unnecessary.  Many rules were put in place for no other reason than a desire to want to create rules!  

Furthermore, if one says the word “rule” over and over it becomes a funny sounding word, that even though we’ve heard it with frequency throughout our entire lives never recognized how silly it sounds!  Not only that, but it is a difficult word that requires acrobatics of the tongue to say correctly.  Saying it in plural form requires us to shape our mouths three entirely different ways.  

To begin with the “ru” sound we pucker our lips, lift our tongue and out comes a noise such as an ape would say.  

Then for the “le” we must quickly shift bringing the tongue down and close the mouth bringing the lips into a smile.

Finally for the “s” we end pull our tongue back, clench our teeth and blow air through the small space between our upper and lower teeth which produces a hissing sound like that of a snake.  

In regards to the function and purpose of rules, perhaps this word is what gives our entire society structure!  Would society even be possible without rules?  NO!  There would then be anarchy and it would be impossible to live together cohesively since it is quite apparent from the news that we are still animals.  Rules are the glue that holds society together. 

I propose that we build a monument and place it in the most revered spot of our society.  Historically monuments in places like these usually were of God, or the Emperor, King, etc.  But when we boil it all down aren’t these all just givers of RULES?  Rules are the force behind the man and even the divine, that which is true power in and of itself!  

Let us build a monument and to give it even more authority and a demand for reverence we should put it in Latin.  The common man always bows to things written or said in Latin after all. 


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Princess Shikishi Poem – 式子内親王の詩


Winter Becoming Spring

In spring too
what first stands out —
Mount Otowa —
from the snow at its peak
the rays of the sun appear.

Here deep in the hills,
my pine door would never know
that springtime had come —
but for a broken trickle
of jewels of melted snow.

Though warblers
have not called,
in the sound of cascades
pouring down rocks
spring is heard.


With spring manifest
on moss-grown, decaying eaves,
the plum tree
of my house, unaged,
emits its fragrance.

Even when
my watching you today
becomes the past,
plum near the eaves,
do not forget me!

Flowers have blossomed
in my mind
while I awaited them:
at last to Yoshino
I have transplanted them

It’s spring:
to my heart’s content
I gaze at the treetops
shrouded in haze
and budding.

Now the cherry trees
seem to have bloomed;
it’s cloudy,
hazy with spring,
the way the world appears.

I look for the end
of the haze-mountains
with shelves
of white clouds
against the dawning sky.

On the Sea of Grebes
a boat is making its way—
beyond the haze —
with its sail billowing forth
to make a vista for spring.

As I sleep somewhere
near a mountain
away from home,
spring is fragrant
in reality and in dreams.

Visitors, go home
without breaking
off branches:
even the warbler’s wingwind
cruel to my cherry.

Spring Becoming Summer

With the blossoms gone
I look for no special color
as I gaze afar
and then from the empty sky
spring rains begin to fall.

The clouds
of May rain
have closed into one —
water beads from the roof
unstrung, chaotic.

Layers of eightfold
yellow roses
in such glow
when what remains of spring
may be counted in days.


So rich in my hand
was the scent of the water,
that I searched upstream —
and found it flowing there
beneath a wild orange tree.

Is he telling me
in which village
he’ll wait?
Under flowering deutzia
a cuckoo whispers.

Calls of the clapper rail
far into the night —
moss-grown gate
closed to all
but the moon.

The sound of wind
rustling bamboo leaves
near my window —
short is my nap
and its dream.

Saying, “It’s cool,”
I sought the wind’s message:
wild lillies
near a clump of grass.

Like the evening dew
soaking a spider’s web,
how long,
I only wonder
will I last?

Passing the cedar grove,
at Osaka Barrier,
I cup water
from the mountain well.

Each time
the shower returns,
the leafy oak
waiting in my garden
responds and takes it in.

As I grow
used to the moss mat
and rock pillow,
the sound of mountain water
cleanses my heart.

To the sound
of water tumbling
beneath rocks
in the pine shade,
cicada voices coolly respond.

As I gaze.
the moon dims,
on the face
of the garden,
only a few fireflies.

Summer Becoming Autumn

Is it to tell
the geese
of the autumn wind?
Fireflies rising close
to the evening clouds.

The moon’s color, too,
says autumn’s close;
late at night
will reeds near my hedge
startle me?

in the boarded well,
far from the village,
now to be removed;
autumn is near.


the passage has occurred;
as I brood,
autumn dusk dewdrops
fall on my pillow.

When autumn comes,
even the pines
aging on mount Tokiwa
deeply change
their hues.

The clear-toned cicadas
have exhausted their voices
on the hillside,
when again
the evening bell startles.

The voices of insects
and a stag by the fence,
as one,
disturb me to tears
this autumn dusk.

The paulownia leaves
are hard to make a way through
so thick have they fallen.
Although it’s not as if
I’m expecting anyone.

In my garden
where no one comes,
wrapped in sedge,
in the depths of dew,
a pine cricket cries.

Away from home
over the dewdrops
fragile on my pillow
lightning at dusk
gleams intermittently.

Flowering pampas grass,
again dew-soaked;
I thought I would not be out
and gaze
in autumn’s prime.

Watching, I have grown lonely.
If only I had a lodging
outside the autumn!
The moon lives
in the field and on the hills.

Autumn Becoming Winter

Winds cold, leaves
are cleared from trees
night by night,
baring the garden
to the moon’s light.

In the shower
red leaves fell;
now hailstones drop
on garden leaves.

If you haven’t seen it
on the ice of this well,
you must insist
the moon
is of autumn alone.


Away from home
in Fushimi Village,
the day breaks; across
the frost of harvested fields,
a crane calls.

Uji River boat piled with brushwood
unable to pull up to shore —
one after another
the drops from the pole
turn to ice.

As I watched
winter came;
along the edge of a cove
where ducks sit,
thin ice is forming.

Unable to sleep with ease,
on my mid-night pillow;
a wood duck
that iced itself
has come to ask.

Flowers and leaves
of all colors —
let them be:
late winter night
has its pinewind sound.

Frost not falling
from the grebe’s wings
however it flaps them:
is it unaware
that it’s moonlight?

As winter comes,
the sound
from the valley stream stops,
and a wind from the mountain
visits my window.

Tumultuous winter sky
all day—
now it suddenly turns cloudy,
sleet slashes aslant,
winds competing.

to hilltop pine branches
break under snow,
I spend all night
in a valley hut.

Who grows used to living here?
A hut
with a brushwood fence
in the falling snow.

The kind of place
where the way a traveler’s tracks
disappear in snow
is something you get used to —
such a place is this world of ours.


With reference to the sources listed below, these poems
cited, edited and adapted from:
String of Beads: Complete Poems of Princess Shikishi,
tr. by Hiroaki Sato, U. of Hawaii Press, 1993

Traditional Japanese Poetry,
tr. by Steven D. Carter, Stanford U. Press, 1991

From the Country of Eight Islands,
tr. by Hiroaki Sato and Burton Watson, Columbia U. Press, 1986

The Colors of Poetry: Essays on Classic Japanese Verse,
by Ooka Makoto, Katydid Books, 1991

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Evening wine – Fogfest Sunday


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Filoli Autumn Festival – the start of the holiday season!


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I wish I could fly


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Sunset out of view for the winter.


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Beautiful day after the first rain


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I am not alone

ATB – You’re Not Alone (Official Video HD):

Just rediscovered the WordPress blogging community! I’ve kept my own blog for eons but it is my own install and I never really sought out a wider WordPress community. The other night I felt like reading others personal blogs and found a way to browse an almost unlimited amount of personal blogs using the WordPress website tag cloud.
This comes at an opportune time as I’m tiring of Facebook. I need posts with more substance, to experience others lives and feelings through well written blog posts. For me, Facebook is now just a way to keep in touch and keep updated through pictures on my friends lives. Other than that there is very little substance.

I plan on becoming a much more active member of the wordpress community. When I rediscovered it last night I thought of the song above. There are others out there with a need to write about their lives. I am not alone!

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