In 1999, Michael Rothenberg became the caretaker for his teacher and mentor, Philip Whalen. The following poem is taken from his recent book, written as a eulogy to the late poet.
“another maniac unleashed, alas!”
Buddhism in America
“The upper middle way”
say someone gives you roses
and you’re allergic to roses
can you still be romantic about roses?
Generosity, Humanity, Heart What is the Heart Sutra?
it’s the body being passed overhead
above a crowd
of politicians and power-mad bureaucrats
by the keepers of the faith
What is Sangha?
Ecology of Permission
All sides inside & out
the hospital is closing
& patients in the extended
wing are listening to the visiting
“Old Man River”
huge mass of Buddhist philosophy
condensed into a few lines
reduced to a mantra:
Gone beyond beyond
Hail . . .”
From Unhurried Vision, © 2003 by Michael Rothenberg. Reprinted with permission of La Alameda Press.