3. First sight of the bull

“The sun is warm, the wind is mild,
willows are green along the shore –
Here no Ox can hide!”

Sun blots the landscape
soaking the faraway view to a faded wash
eyes forced to a squint, slit-eyed I watch
reeds and trees stand up against the glare
silhouettes sooty as after bushfires
a fine art drawing in red chalk and charcoal
blotches of citrine light and shade
shape-shifting into dappled hide of ox

In the salt marsh toes wriggle and churn
like burrowing worms
I’m casting cares to the calm west wind
foot stepping through soft soapy brine
white is the tideline marked with cloven hooves
a printed line made evident and foolproof
though the two-footed devil is cloven too
yet here are four steps a time and heaven
nearer than we imagine

Thoughts settle the way flies do
how unsettling all these ticklish diversions!
shunned and shunted with a pendulous swish of tail
for there the errant bull is grazing unawares
half hidden, face first in the willowy furze
whist I in this all-but-blinding light
have opened up my eyes to second sight

Note: As the poems progress the bull becomes more visible(!) and in my photoart I’m using a drawing courtesy of Arline Wagner – see her website for many more art prints

Third poem of the series interpreting the ten oxherding pictures of zen meditation – see Poetry Project: 10 bulls 
And I’m offering up these verses with others who are gathering today in the Poetry Pantry