The Tree of Transmigration, 2003



There is a tree of transmigration,

planted in the sea of time created.

The branches stretch from Earth to


with lotus leaves, the flowers sacred.

The buds are pleasures of the senses,

with roots into the world of men;

by binding them to action,

they’re moved by unseen wind.


Here the sun shines not,

neither nighttime nor the day.

In this land of life forgot,

there are few ghosts along the way.


There is a tree of transmigration;

few men see this changing tree,

with its limbs far in the heavens,

it sees as does the sea.


When he departs, or when he stays,

those in delusion see him not.

He could not live, and could not slay,

not in a land of life forgot.


Heaven hates what heaven hates,

yet the clouds cast open wide;

mankind knocks often at the gates,

with no idea why.


Rain seeps through an ill-thatched hut,

as passion to an untrained mind;

when all the outward doors are shut,
the third eye you will find.


In delusion of division,

comes love and lust and hate.

Follow those divine illusions,

and we’ll kick down the gate.


If they depart into the flame, and light,

and the dark weeks of the moon,

as foretold by ancient insight,

two thousand years is just too soon.


If they depart into the smoke or night,

and bright weeks of the moon,

to enter into lunar light,

the tree around us blooms.


Though all these words will pass away,

then return their loves forlorn.

Many have forgot this way,

as dogs to be reborn.


Though all these beings disappear,

when the light of darkness comes;

seen only by the overseer,

Shiva above bangs on the drums.


With the leaves of that tree falling,

delicate down to earth,

with the same old sun around us rolling,

we wait for our rebirth.


This cycle of a world that withers,

is transient like the day;

formed like fleeting phantom figures,

from out the potter’s clay.




However tall the top exists,

to haul escaping slaves to Heaven;

they crawl the lines like butterflies,

and moths about the lights.

Faces fall around them;

and another day is night.


The bark around the tree is covered,

in memories and days;

by some old wise man once discovered,

when Khayyam sang its ways.


In a world of figures falling,

and none who sing aloud.

The ball of water keeps on rolling,

listless like the clouds.


In the summer it still blooms,

and buds will issue then:

giving off a sweet perfume,

as leaves fall forth as men.


For man to then stand under,

and with hope inside, look up;

in each blossom, and each wonder,

the wine of life drains from the cup.


There is a tree of transmigration,

from it we hang on strings;

it talks about the revelations,

and delusions give us wings.


So to the top we float,

to finally get a view,

between us and the Gods, at last,

mankind is born anew.


But it blossoms in the winter,

summer and the fall;

the hands of clocks begin to splinter,

into dust to turn us all.


There is a tree of transmigration,

with roots inside our soul;

all the flowers bloom in Heaven,

as we’re shoveled in our hole.


Perhaps some apparition man,

could lead us up the stairs,

save us from time’s endless sands,

and wipe Karma’s chalkboard’s clear.


Tomorrow’s apparition

descends at dawn alas.

Waking up the bugs and things,

which scuttle in the grass.


First from the leaves that fell,

the beginning of the line;

which over time has spread,

and blossomed time to time.


Like a leaf the first man fell from the tree,

and crawled up from the ground;

he stood on two feet,

so he could greet,

the living wonders all around.


But then put forth was fruit of sin,

ate readily by those who came.

To them it was nutrition,

with only God to blame.




Then comes the night and winter,

along with pigs and cows.

Then emerges those who slither,

with sorrowful holy vows.


Eternally we might return,

condemned forever to this world.

The fire at the end of time should burn,

the carpet before the door unfurled.


They pass away from here forever,

and from death to death they go;

they wake up in the morning,

at night asleep to go.


Man is an incidental view,

between two states unseen.

Who stumbles in the morning dew,

pulled here and there by strings.


This is a vicious cycle,

death to death just like a wheel;

flesh is recycled once again,

to the tree to steal.


This tree as well will bring forth fruit,

apples and the like.

Man too often abandons truth,

and waits to pass from sight.


Like a flower man should bloom,

rise up on two and flower.

Realize the speed of death,

and be a slave to hours.


A slave to his creation,

like idols in the sky.

Regardless of the implications,

the carousel goes by.


But the tree as well starts from a seed,

like us and insects too.

Simple though, they are in need;

veiled pass the figures through.


As a candle throws our shadow,

high above us on that wall,

we see these surreal shapes aglow,

shadows of the ape to fall.


Whether here or there, or on some plane,

this can’t occlude us so.

We still can’t stop the rain,

or find shelter from the snow.


All these shadow figures,

watch the world go by.

Trapped inside transparent mirrors,

with their heads turned to the sky.


Nameless was that day before,

mother of all the creatures,

without form passed through the door,

and inhabited spatial features.


This manifold facade,

will stalk the halls of man.

Like God appearing in mirage,

extending a silhouetted hand.


The way is empty but will not drain,

let the wheels roll ‘round the rut.

Carried off the cart, insane;

no blade can the atman cut.


Life is but a folktale,

told ‘round the campfire light.

In these words man might prevail,

and then outlast the night.


What of what is said could then be done—

when hours around us fall?

we dance like straw dogs in the sun,

until we hear the Master call.


A day is but one stepping stone,

to cross a sea of tears.

Together though, onward we go,

across the sea of years.




The spirit of the valley never ends.

The spirit of the valley never dies.

Beyond the earth, beyond the skin,

beyond the cloudless midnight skies.


Do not over pour the brim,

better to have stopped in time;

lost fish in the oceans swim,

amongst syllables and rhyme.


Gold and jade might fill the hall,

but there are none to keep them.

Conscious as these words befall,

shapes climb above the brim.


There is a way to climb up out,

the Karma Conductor’s maze.

Some wise man will come about,

and with words dispel the haze.


Five colors might make a man go blind;

what’s inside is all we need to see.

Floating on these words of rhyme,

we’re washed ashore before the tree.


With branches draped in dying figures,

of those who tried to climb.

Corpses like this tree will wither,

with three wise men left behind.


Though suicides dangle on the limbs,

like an apple on the branch.

Something akin to us and him,

this pious utterance.


We remain but dim-lit figures,

like dying shadows thrown.

The seven skies around us glimmer;

the lolling sea lolls on.


Born again inside the ground,

to sprout up like the tree.

As silence shapes the finite sound,

destiny falls with the leaves.


The fall will come, and fall will go,

as winter comes on the heel of summer.

Yes to some, and others no;

the Tower torn asunder.


Devoured like the dancing men,

with all those trumpets blowing.

Those who play by the sea in sand,

die together without knowing.


There is an invisible gate,

through which transparent creatures


transmigrating: predator, prey,

the lolling sea saw none.


Falling apart like thawing ice,

and vacant like a valley,

we scream like burning cigarettes,

while silent in the alley.


There is a thread, on which we hang,

passing through the man-made mirror.

As in and out goes Yin and Yang;

the canopy draws nearer.




Drawing near the boat and bough,

blossoming like all years under.

Just some bread, some wine, and thou;

shadows running from the thunder.


The thunder and the lightning, tree,

might split it down the center;

Perhaps mankind alone can see,

what formless creatures enter.


When the hands allow the rains,

the tree again will grow.

Piety stalls, half through the hall,

gone goes the devil, Ego.


Like a tree known from the start,

we watch it like picture shows;

all these words just imitate life,

or so the saying goes.


These creatures though,
they pass from nothing,

in the darkness of the night.

From this nothing into being,

through the door back out of sight.


There is a door to pass through,

with one side real, the other not;

The nothingness we walk to,

is twilight in the world forgot.

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