5. Taming the bull

“The whip and rope are necessary, else he might stray off down some dusty road. Being well-trained, he becomes naturally gentle. Then, unfettered, he obeys his master.

after the capture comes this watershed
‘though there are no fluid feelings or sylvan streams
just a slither of liquefaction in red rage on hard rock
where riddles run in rills between the feet of a Sphinx
apparitions vex the mind that made them
contradictions of the corpus callosum divide
seeing from believing

a Teumessian fox can never be caught
by a hound that always hunts to success*

the bull immovable by an unstoppable force
– an undesirable ego takes the desired way

Such posers leave me panting;
already exhausted by the chase, I’m paralysed by paradox
motionless, the minute lies of illusion materialise
all false dilemmas of a dilettante disposition descend
I  surrender this impossible knot of self-contradiction
together whip and rope make loopholes for the way ahead**
an unfettered bull ploughs the path

*see Greek Mythology
** symbolic of discipline and commitment to meditation

Fifth poem of the series interpreting the symbolic, ten oxherding pictures of Zen meditation – see Poetry Project: 10 bulls
And joining with Victoria’s poetics prompt this week: “I once used an earthquake in a poem: Symbolism”


  1. One almost hesitates to say a taurus de force, but phew. I definitely need an unfettered bull to plough my course. Perhaps then it wouldn’t be so clogged up with knotty obstacles and other diversions.


    1. Thank you Björn for such a glowing and very supportive comment. I was beginning to think I’d taken on more than I could handle with this project – been easier since I’ve allowed each to manifest organically and hence do not try for similarity of form. Yes I hope to print it one day


  2. I agree–multiple layers to this (erudite) poem. I’m reading in a distracting environment and hope to have time to revisit. I see the divisiveness of left and right (brain) (politics) and the raging bull that seems as though it will never be tamed–personally and globally.


  3. Treasuring the 10 bull pics and having them on the wall of my living room from many years (bought in Japan), I enjoyed this and the image of the efforts of just sitting (zazen). Funny the different takes on those ten pictures between the various contradictory schools of Buddhist — me I love the Tibetan Nyingma school, which embraces the repugnant, and escapes nothing. The bull is not to be tamed, but ridden with its wildness. Very thoughtfilled poem


    1. thank you for a very thoughtful reply and pleased to meet a fellow bull herder! Way to go though…
      “Since everything is complete in itself, one comes to abandon the illness of efforts
      And thus one continues spontaneously in the calm state of contemplation.”
      the Cuckoos Song
      p.s. pursued your Nyingma school, and came across the cuckoo which coincidentally had appeared in my ‘Catching the bull’


  4. I see a lot of symbolism in your poem and 1 reading is not enough ~ The animal is majestic, and the paradox is food for thought ~

    Good for you to have this as your writing project ~


  5. Eloquently expressed, and very philosophical.
    I visited the link you provided for this Poetry project:10 bulls. What a beautiful project.
    That is a beautiful painting!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.