Cast my shadows to the workshop floor,
Sunbeams summon from dusty corners,
Collected works from years before.
Crystals melt into droplets,
Dripping, pooling on window sill.
First one form, then the other,
A cycle of seasons is fulfilled.
Master ponders at his workbench.
Where he faltered, he can not see,
Apprentice submits his life to the master,
All re-cycled seasons within me.
Let me pause and know this scene;
The block of wood which chisels clean.
An image drawn by the master;
The man I work so hard to please.
A maiden fare, in kimono,
Samurai warrior, on a steed,
Buddhist monks, deities,
All faces that I carve from greed.
Years I’ve sat by this window
Dreams of glory, hopes of fame.
Resting on the masters talents,
The apprentice willingly restrained.
Wood chips lie in perfect chaos.
Chisels wait to carve the day.
A cardinal lands upon the sill,
With it, all thoughts flit away.
Eyes closed, Sun shines upon the backdrop.
Red ink on wood, the masks appear.
Bishamon leads, the others follow,
Black shadows, Red ink, the colors smear.
First one mask, then another,
They cycle through, a thousand, more.
My Soul is hidden from my Being
Amongst those works upon the floor.
In fascination I watch the shadows,
One by one they dance with me.
Where they lead, I’ve always followed,
A life of fear. I could not see.
Conceive the face of the master,
“Apprentice carve out your life of fear!”
Waiting a lifetime for approval,
His voice was mine. I could not hear.
Days are long, nights forever
My head is filled, my mind not clear.
I wipe the dust from my brow.
A shift in me. My soul can hear.
Mind was filled, heart was empty,
Come master. Now dance with me.
My heart is filled, my mind is empty,
From now on I will lead.
Cold wind, it blows through open window
Picks up the chill of melting snow.
I open eyes to flitting Cardinal,
My heart, a thread of truth now knows.
Sitting in the master’s workshop
Carving out my life complete,
Truths now play at the open window,
With truths each woodblock may be replete.