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By: Norman Fischer | 04/26/2008
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poem written while practicing at Felsentor, in Switzerland, summer 2007. I was reading Heidegger and Dogen at the time.


Into the transposed stone caverns
Water drips with a certain distinction
Who’d agree to descend to such places?
Why’s the sky so careworn
Allowing merely one or two clouds to appear with importunity?
This is why I speak with an accent, if I agree to speak at all
(Speaking being so embarrassing
Yet one can’t “get by” without it)
Five dark pigs, in descending sizes,
Follow the staff-carrying habited nun
Onward to pig freedom which is
As in the human world
Nothing more or less
Than love:
And so the tale continues
With something at stake
“Smoking cigarettes,” he said, smoking cigarettes
But we have a sense of history
We know the past is real – take a look
At the church in the piazza, others are there too
So you know today is real
And cafes here are very good
When you finally return (as I hoped you would)
Bringing me an obscure, tiny, alpine flower
Or is that a photo of a flower
Or your simply having said “here there was a flower”
That I accept at face value
We eat at the proper time of day,
Which is whenever we want it to be

This stone tower, this misty view
Of lake and mountain seen from a window –
Life must be a fish or a boat, it cannot be a theory
This stone lantern, this paper wall
Toward which the body must be fully turned
So as to open a door and close it
For the purpose to which we are dedicated
To amuse myself today, my dear, when you are far away
I took photographs of flowers, blue bells, white stars, yellow trumpets
And midway down the steep trail I saw a chapel
Whose crucifix was dark, circular,
How many crucifixes to fulfill a nightmare?
How many mothers drifting off to sleep?
Overhead all day helicopters
Their whine (like spoiled children) echoed through the mountain
In the distance, possibly, snow-capped peaks
Barely visible, or are they stationary clouds?
Heidegger, your made your bed, put the light out

Can be archived
Can be released
Can be gathered among you
But I did not need to tell you
Things are alive
When they are not asleep
Communing together in the damp
For the four-fold deranged conversation
Behind them a dog appears startlingly
He must be leashed and led as all dogs must
And are eager to be, as we are eager to be
In childhood where it’s always dark
Among the fairytales –
Listen to the glory speeches
That always roar forth without amendment
In this voice I call forth a nation’s destiny
The ones who had been first will be last
But this does not mean that the last will be first
For they also are last
In a moment we depart the theater
Allowing the illusions to return to their places
Whatever of this has already been spoken
(Facing as it does the door in and the door out)
Will be spoken again in a less stable tongue
The stony trail climbs toward the clouds
But the soft footsteps trace the trusty streets