David Cook

KOAN - why thanks?


‘Why is there something not nothing?’

A philosophical boneshaker

but where does it take us?

True, one has to start

somewhere - just not from here.

There’s an elsewhere prior to questions

and we’ve mostly been there,

felt that astonished thanks.


As dreams become wordless on the edge

of leaving, the edge folds back on itself

and the dream knows

what the dreamer does not

that, pressed on from all sides

motionless and rapt,

we are never not not there,

never not there.


The poem aims to combine a conundrum of Leibniz, some Zen Buddhism and my sense of the mysterious wisdom of the unconscious. There is a philosophical point - the individual mind is finite, it cannot experience infinity or nothing. Mathematicians, of course, use the concepts of zero and infinity with aplomb, and mystics have long had intimations of nirvana and/or eternity.

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