As Breath Defines Constriction


As Breath Defines Constriction (Solar Wind)

The snake swallows itself, integrating the opposite. Or, illustrating the
nature of earthquakes, encourages conjecture.

Wind meditation. The practice of circling mountains, of emptying oneself.

Matter accelerating away from the sun. The prickly pear on the roof.

The Tendai monks of Hiei run 40 kilometers each day for 100 consecutive days.
Only then may they petition to complete the thousand-day trial.

Coronal mass ejections temporarily deform the Earth’s magnetic field.

I sweat while driving to the store for cold beer.

The heliopause is the point at which the solar wind’s strength is no longer
sufficient to push back the interstellar medium.

No matter its destination, a comet’s tail always points away from the sun.

At which point does one hear the sound of sunlight entering stone?

They must complete the thousand-day challenge or die. To this end,
each monk carries a knife and length of rope on his journey.

A map is simply paper. Solar wind, cord of death.

Stones in the path, quivering earth. Eyes focused ahead.


“As Breath Defines Constriction” is included in The Circumference of Other, my offering in the Silver Birch Press publication, IDES: A Collection of Poetry Chapbooks, available on Amazon.


36 thoughts on “As Breath Defines Constriction

  1. Thank you for being the much-needed sun today.
    As a mom of teens who are largely about the business of cutting off their noses to spite their faces these days, and who are beginning to sense the scope of extremes encompassing their possibilities, and are cowering in terror while I try to guide them along on the small steps they need to take just in order to be in and of the world, this lends some beautiful perspective and solace to my excruciating task at hand (all the more excruciating in that it isn’t even actually *my* task, and yet everything is at stake — I understand that the only alternative to the willingness required for beginning and continuing the journey, effectively, is that knife and length of rope, but that’s a lesson that can’t be taught; only in learning how to make our bid for life do we discover what a brutal injunction against the Self it then becomes to retreat from that life).
    With all my “education,” all my pointed “preparation” for becoming of the world (especially on my kids’ behalf), I still never heard the sunlight entering the stone…until today.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I wouldn’t have guessed that you haven’t parented kids. I read your 1000 day trial metaphor precisely as that which encapsulates my experience of being a parent. I’ve only just petitioned for the privilege of beginning that particular trial, and I know that it’s not a value/requirement that everyone who raises children shares, or must experience. Our circumstances just happen to dictate that our map is made of solar wind.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I would think that raising teens would serve as sufficient experience for many trials. I was a fairly “good” teen, meaning I didn’t get caught at most of my hackle-raising antics, but still, I’m glad I didn’t have to raise me. Hmm. Might be a poem in there, somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. (Oh I’m sorry but until you see TRIZ used effectively you won’t understand its beauty in problem solving. Rolls Royce employ some TRIZ “Masters” as they are called. I am not saying you are “mechanical” though I am sorry to say it appears that way, R. Cheers)

    Liked by 2 people

    • I tried a software program many years ago (its name eludes me) that bounced ideas around to facilitate or perhaps enhance the thought process – offering new angles or glimpses at different perspectives. It was fun to play with, but in the end didn’t offer enough – I wanted help with business ideas and functions, and couldn’t obtain sufficient practical material from its algorithms.

      “Mechanical” isn’t a bad descriptor, as long as it isn’t followed by “predictable.” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely, Bob. But you must not think I am copying you when I do my Tendai monks post! I learned of them a few weeks ago and am eagerly awaiting, though interlibrary loan, a book on their lives and practice. So intriguing. Anyway — another beautiful work, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: As Breath Defines Constriction – Collecting Reality

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