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Zen Telegrams

At the library used-book sale recently appeared a $1 gem: a tiny, yellowed 1964 hardback copy of Zen Telegrams by Paul Reps. It's an cheerful collection of 79 wee poem-drawings, Chinese ink-brush style—"weightless gifts", the author calls them in the foreword by editor Meredith Weatherby. Many miss the mark: they're trite, or pointless. But as Reps warns, "Any one is for one person. Like intimate conversation, it is not meant to be seen-heard by others. ... Perhaps then, only perhaps, one of these is for you. Should this be so, you are welcome to take it out of the book and hang it on your wall, knowing it was done for you with delight."

Words from some samples that spoke, for whatever reason, to me:

brookside
     alive
O do not hasten
          friend
you may
          arrive

and

rocks preaching
become some
      silent
           sound

and

waterfall



no trouble
at
all

Others work but only in the presence of the drawings that they accompany. Others don't. Hmpf!

^z - 2009-11-19