By: Dan A. Cardoza
The first writing ink was invented in 2500 B. C. by the Egyptians and the Chinese. It is believed that this ink was made by mixing carbon with gum.
Writing, yet birthed, uncompromised, each & every word a dark flame; carbon & gum. It is born on exquisitely crafted onion skinned paper waiting for the calligrapher’s blade, patiently for the first dark cut.
It would be Kodo’s intent to point the way for the promising poet, Matsuo, toward the enlightened path. It would be his intent, to snatch the roar from the lion, or even more exquisitely, the lion from the roar.
Kodo Sawaki was born in Tsu, Mie, and was one of six children. He was orphaned at a very you age, losing his parents. Kodo lost his mother when he was only four and unfortunately, lost his daughter three years later. Some say that loss and loneliness sow seeds that seldom grow. Young Kodo would approach the meaning of departure for most of his adult life.
From an early age, Kodo contemplated if you can ever give the things away you never possessed? And questioned if you can depart from somewhere you never were. With his yearning for meaning, Kodo ran away from his home at the age of 16, never to return. His mind slowly became comfortable, with the meaningless of beginnings and ends.
His life’s mission was to teach this to his students of Zen and life. As he continued his travels, not having the responsibility for any particular Temple, he would soon become known as the Homeless Kodo. He loved teaching the most difficult students what he called his “wonderfully useless,” Zen. For the layperson, to believe this, in fact, would be entirely naïve.
Matsuo would prove to be a difficult student in particular. He was highly intelligent, but stubborn, infused with a sense of curiosity and wanderlust. One might entertain the thought, that perhaps his habits of self were not that dissimilar to those of his master in youth.
Kodo accidentally spilled the bottle of ink on his prized student’s paper. A shiny, inky ocean dried black to Shiro (white) shores, not unlike the ring of light in a full eclipse of the sun. The brilliant student waited impatiently for his dark ocean to dry, then slowly begin to turn its corona, crafting the most exquisite Haiku’s, in the white margins circular shore. When complete, as instructed, he cut out his black ocean moon, slowly & deliberately, with his master’s ancient scissors. Once removed, he turned his sea shore slowly in a circle, reciting his poems. Holding his ocean in one hand; seashore in the other he beamed. Suddenly the master lunged, snapping up his elipictal ocean and tossed it straight into the blazing furnace, slamming the heavy cast iron door shut. Matsuo stood, and angrily grinned defiantly, “I still have my poems.” Kodo Sawaki smiled; spoke softly, “Your poem is on fire.”
Dan has a Master of Science Degree in Counseling. He is the author of two Chapbooks, Nature’s Front Door & Expectation of Stars. Partial credits include: Amethyst, UK., Ardent, Better Than Starbucks, California Quarterly, Chaleur Magazine, Curlew, UK., Entropy, Esthetic Apostle, Flash Fiction Friday, Poetry Northwest, The Quail Bell, Skylight 47, Ireland, Spelk, UK., Unstamatic, and Vita Brevis.