Skip to content

A Poem to Take to Heart

The Third Position: Neither Here, Nor There

Then, Once and Now…

EF Hulsizer, 2004

It is just a matter of hitting the bell, closing the door, lighting a candle.

In the past IT abides,

In the future IT abides,

In the present IT abides.

But don’t ask, “What do you mean?”

You seek an answer with a hammer,

Pounding on the fog you think you will make a break and see through.

Stay still and turn.

Make the turn and hear the echoes of habits and wishes.

Feel the striving gut that wants something more.


Don’t hurry away.

It is the Way.

Endless turning until

the floor of the mind collapses.

Stop the hunt for the other.

Stop the chase.

You stalk a reply.

Respond without worry.

When you smell smoke, yell, “fire!”

When you see the table holds the cup,

See the cup hold the tea!

Look through,

See, neither here, nor there.

It is the buoyant cheers of scorpions and pigeons,

That you kill and stuff with your conclusions.

You cry, “How do I help?”

No hands, no harm.

You cry, “Have I gone too far?”

Neither far, nor near.

You cry, “what is the point?”

The sun, the moon and the stars.

When you give up the wish for something else, something more

You are home.

Then, once, and now there is nothing that escapes the past, the future, the present.

Your plans show the hidden tenants,

“Me, My, Mine.”

Safety boxes and storage houses overflow with false ideas.

You pound your hammer with great desire and fail to hear the wondrous voice.

When you realize the heart drums without a score and the ear hears without direction

you sit near the edge of the flowing river.

When wishes for and against subside

And the nose smells without form

The bees suckle the flowers and

Gestures of life wave

To awaken the unfilled.


Humming Bird

Author: Fly

Old Moon

Zen Contemplative of the Order of Hsu Yun

ZATMA  is not a blog.

 If for some reason you need elucidation on the teaching,

please contact editor at:


Print Friendly, PDF & Email