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Mushin

by Mark Stone

As I was painting today
A blackbird flew in to my studio
Through the open door.

Standing before the canvas
I felt a flutter in the air above me
Then turning my head

I glimpsed a black smear of panic
As the bird bashed itself violently against the windows,
Unable to escape.

Annoyed with the interruption and
Frustrated with my work (a muddy-looking landscape)
I put down my brush and

Went for a broom.
In a moment I returned brandishing it and
Stalked the damned thing

Among the dusty heaps of pictures
Not sure what I was trying to do,
But my efforts only frightened it still more

And it flew headlong into the glass again
With a loud sharp crack
And then fell stunned

Into the piles of cardboard boxes.
Once recovered from the shock
It fluttered back up around the rafters

Like a tattered moth
Round and round against the ceiling
Till it settled on a heap of old canvases.

I put down the broom and stood looking at it.
It looked back at me.
There was a pause,

Perhaps even some kind of recognition (so I imagined),
Then it flew again into the spider-webbed glass
This time even harder.

Bloody stupid bird, I thought, then
Went out of the studio,
Abandoning my work to the unwelcome visitor,

And feeling exasperated with nature
I went inside for a quick cup of tea
To clear my head.

When I returned the bird was gone
And the studio silent.
With me out of the picture

It had worked out how to find the open door
Through which it had entered
And escaped easily into the sunlight.

So I returned to my painting.

10/22/2018

Author's Note: “Mushin”: Japanese term defined as, "being free from mind-attachment" (D.T.Suzuki)

Posted on 10/22/2018
Copyright © 2019 Mark Stone

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 10/22/18 at 03:26 PM

Excellently conveyed story poem, Mark.

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