The Friday Poem on 12/05/23
We chose ‘Trial and Error’ by Josh Geffin to be our Friday Poem this week because we like the way the poem lays it all out in black and white – the surprise, the doubt, the wilderness. The tone moves from conversational to profound, but always questioning. And the poem moves like the cat, one line at a time, trying the ice, seeing what will hold on the page.
Trial and Error
Sitting cross-legged in a small room
opposite a Zen Master – no shit –
I say I’m not sure what I should be doing,
I don’t know what my calling is.
he tells me a Japanese proverb:
a cat on ice extends his paw
to see if the ice will break or hold.
Hmm, seems okay,
(he’s mimicking a cat padding around),
I think I’ll try my other paw …
and so on and so forth.
Imagine it, snow-blown Japan,
a huge frozen lake
surrounded by a wilderness of cedars
and a house cat strayed
from some nearby monastery,
tiny and black in the vast white,
stretching out that paw to check the ice,
going who knows where, or turning back.