Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Summer 2007, vol 5 no 2


Christo Gates
Ken Arnold


Following an overnight snowfall, about thirty people, mostly Buddhists, do a walking meditation through the Christo Gates in Central Park. Slush underfoot but the air is cold, overcast. All of us walking in silence—some snapping pictures of the scene. Around us the park gashed with saffron-colored flags hung from the orange gates. We walk beneath and, oddly, through the flags. They are sometimes still, other times flapping in the wind. An old sound, a rumble like the background hum of the universe. I think of the koan:

The monks were arguing about the temple flag waving in the wind. One said, "The flag moves." The other said, "The wind moves." They argued back and forth but could not agree. The Sixth Patriarch said, "Gentlemen! It is not the wind that moves; it is not the flag that moves; it is your mind that moves." The two monks were struck with awe. (Mumonkan, 29)

nothing to it—
a walk in the park through gates
through gates through gates through gates

Ken Arnold Ken Arnold has worked in publishing for forty years, most recently as the head of the Episcopal Church's publishing company. Ordained in the church, he is now semi-retired and plans to move in June with his wife Connie to Portland, Oregon, from New York City. He has written and produced plays (a Eugene O'Neill Fellow in 1979), poetry that has appeared in numerous national magazines, and books on spirituality (most recently, Night Fishing in Galilee). He is presently writing a novel, The Cave, and completing a book of Haibun, The Circle of the Way. Ken plays the traditional Japanese bamboo flute, the Shakuhachi, and is an avid road cyclist. He has begun writing haiku and haibun in recent years; this is his first publication of those forms.