Calligraphy by Kanjuro Shibata XXNote:The pattern of the artist’s process is a circle.


One day

Always the first day

Always a beginning

Gather scarce resources

Jeweled colors

 Stuffed into tubes

The finest brush

Paper like skin

Revisit old ideas

Rooted in days gone bye

Weigh their strength

Count crows on the fence

Woven into patterns

Catching rain

To water the vegetation

That fills the garden

 And grows in your brain

 Left unattended

 The cells of the

 Heart are eroded

 Without the strength

 To begin again

Until the last day

 When the artist

 Breaks the circle and


This infomation from wikipedia.   This is about the Japanese word, Enso, which means circle.
Ensō (円相) is a Japanese word meaning “circle” and a concept strongly associated with Zen. Ensō is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy even though it is a symbol and not a character. It symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and the void; it can also symbolize the Japanese aesthetic itself. As an “expression of the moment” it is often considered a form of minimalist expressionist art.

In Zen Buddhist painting, ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create. The brushed ink of the circle is usually done on silk or rice paper in one movement (Bankei, however, occasionally used two strokes) and there is no possibility of modification: it shows the expressive movement of the spirit at that time. Zen Buddhists “believe that the character of the artist is fully exposed in how she or he draws an ensō. Only a person who is mentally and spiritually complete can draw a true ensō. Some artists will practice drawing an ensō daily, as a kind of spiritual practice.”[1]


Some artists paint ensō with an opening in the circle, while others complete the circle. For the former, the opening may express various ideas, for example that the ensō is not separate, but is part of something greater, or that imperfection is an essential and inherent aspect of existence (see also the idea of broken symmetry). The principle of controlling the balance of composition through asymmetry and irregularity is an important aspect of the Japanese aesthetic: Fukinsei (不均斉), the denial of perfection.
The ensō is also a sacred symbol in the Zen school of Buddhism, and is often used by Zen masters as a form of signature in their religious artwork. For more on the philosophy behind this see Hitsuzendo, the Way of the Brush or Zen Calligraphy.

Prompt: one,  wove, scarce, revisited, rain, rooted,

crows, vegetation, last, cells, eroded, strength

18 thoughts on “July 27, 2013 Sunday Whirl #119

  1. wow…appreciate the education on the symbolism…will ponder that a bit…the vegetation growing in the brain & heart eroding parts really caught me annell…and really leads nicely into the artist breaking the circle…

  2. There’s so much power in a symbol and so much you put into your words…I feel rejuvenated now…like my circle is complete. 🙂

  3. What a fascinating subject for poetry – a kind of evolution of the art form. I loved the progression of your ideas, and was especially captured by this sequence of ideas:

    Count crows on the fence
    Woven into patterns
    Catching rain
    To water the vegetation
    That fills the garden

  4. Beautiful poem, Annell, especially “left unattended the cells of the heart are eroded”. Beautiful drawing and I found the end notes really interesting. Thanks for posting at Poets United, kiddo.

  5. I also found your poem fascinating – and thought-provoking. Enjoyed the information you presented too (and maybe it especially resonated with me since I write tanka, Japanese-style poems – well, that is, a contemporary Eng-language version of it).

    Love this philosophy and start to your poem:
    One day
    Always the first day
    Always a beginning

  6. Annell, thanks for stopping by my blog. Your poem itself stood well without the notes, but the notes were enlightening… I loved your musings on the heart and the brain… “erosion,” the perfect choice of word.

    The Enso concept is new to me. I have a friend who’s studying Zen Buddhism and I will forward this link to her, because I believe she’d love the poem and appreciate the research. Thanks so much, Amy

  7. Annell, this is spiritual and artistic as someone said before me. Nice use of the words. I am now just getting round to others at the whirl. I have been very busy. Have a great Friday.


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