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Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year's wishes: Stuart Ross poem - cricket haibun

note: For a year I've carefully nurtured the following New Year's email exchange between myself and author/poet/absurdist/literarygoodguy Stuart Ross. Last year I didn't have a blog to share with, so here's our exchange, just a year later.

******************  best wishes for 2012 ***************************
Chris & Chase ... wrooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooof!

Thanks for the haibun, Chris! Very nice.

Country Boy Stu (now with a dog, too!)

On 11-01-02 12:33 AM, "C FAIERS" <> wrote:

thanks, Stuart, for sharing your bucolic New Year's Day 2011 ... ain't it great being 'country boys'  : )
here's the draft of a brief haibun from today:

Today, the first day of 2011, we experienced further 'January thaw'. It was so drizzly Chase wouldn't leave the house for his afternoon poopifying, so I went for a solo stroll along the Crowe River. The new asphalt path is reminiscent of European towpaths, and I wandered protected by my hoody and blue umbrella. The light drizzle turned to heavy fog, almost Thamesish - the mist rolling up the river from the south, against the fast snow melt current. I decided to sit and enjoy the damp day in a small picnic enclosure.

After sitting on the bench for a few minutes, I started samatha meditation to welcome the new year. I focused on a tall white pine across the river. Its top branches were outspread, folding upwards, as if sharing the meditation. When I was in my late teens, worrying about being conscripted into the Vietnam War, I used to sit in our Florida backyard in full lotus position and focus my consciousness in a small bush about 15 feet in front of me. Over 4 decades later, focusing on the distant tree shimmering thru the rolling fog patches, I was reminded of those long ago meditations - it was interesting to speculate that my field of meditative focus has evolved from 15  to about 450 feet in the intervening 43 years. It was very calm and peaceful dripping with the white pine, and I felt refreshed - a shamanic start for the new year and decade.   

thawing branches
drip into fog chill
roots toe ice current

ancient dancer
guards the river
moves once a decade

thanks, Stuart
peace & poetry power!


Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2011 23:26:45 -0500
Subject: My 2011 New Year Poem for you

Dear friends, relatives, colleagues, comrades!

Here’s wishing you a healthy, happy, artistic 2011. I’m pasting my annual New Year poem below. I hope you enjoy it.

All best to you,

Cobourg, Ontario, Canada


I waited for the next year
to be invented. I took a number.
I passed the time creating
brief theatrical productions
in my head. My head hurt.
I dreamed I was a popular blue
soft drink, a gangly dog cartoon,
a sneaky “u” in American labour.
I dreamed I lived in a big city.

You wake up and you are
in a small town. A building
rings bells, and the lake
is just three minutes away;
the bits touching shore
are covered in ice. Are those ducks
frozen in the lake? No,
they are rocks that look like ducks.
Phew. The relieved townspeople
cluster by Town Hall, squeeze hard,
and the “s” pops out. They are
townpeople now. It is only
one town. It is in Canada.
Twenty Eleven kicks the “s”
down the street, whistling a song
my father liked.

My father never met Twenty Eleven.
My father liked Nelson Eddy, who he also
never met. The song was “Dardanella.”
My father and I build a tent
by the water. The water is solid.
We wait. The year is invented.
He teaches me what it can do.

Stuart Ross
1 January 2011      

Thursday, 29 December 2011

snow magick & shamanic summoning

Snow magick has returned to the trails. Here is an an email haibun/mini essay from last January.

Subject: doe and fawn fade/Three Methods of Summoning
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2011 23:36:42 +0000


I suspected there was a hidden haiku in last week's long walk behind Zion Church. It's very much a shamanic power spot for me, and after the hike I emailed Sylvia about how the bitter cold, the heavy snow loads on the boughs in the mature pine plantation, and a north wind blowing at just the right speed down the plantation laneways created ghostly wisps. At first I thought I had imagined these ephemeral snow ghosts, but after watching for a few more seconds, a second and then a third thin spectre spiralled past.

Chase and I continued on our hike after experiencing the ghostly procession, and we trudged to the end of the long swamp, which added a half hour each way to our cold journey. It was on our tired return approach to the trail intersection that we saw a doe with her fawn. Like the snow ghosts an hour before, the pair faded into the pine plantation without a sound or trace of their passing.
                                                           doe and fawn
                                                           fade into pine alleys
                                                           of snow ghosts

I should have anticipated a shamanic encounter. Nature's realms almost always foreshadow their appearances with subtle hints and signs. I was reflecting on snowflea's excellent owl haiku during this afternoon's hike, which reminded me of my own shamanic owl encounter at that spot, and I realized the obvious set-up for the shamanic visit by the doe and fawn. ... so many thanks, snowflea*, for the haijin inspiration  : )

*snowflea is local poet John Hamley's haijin name - his inspiring haiku:

                                                           Silence --
                                                           then an owl's call
                                                           as clear as the stars

credit: John's haiku published in Haiku Canada Review, October 2009 



Reflecting on these recent mild shamanic exeriences inspired me to further thoughts on how I encourage, or 'summon', the various spiritual and shamanic realms. I concluded there are three main techniques, which I've used since my teen years. There is the subtle, 'haiku way', of gently experiencing nature, often putting myself into synchronicity with beings in nature on long walks or by staying very still in wild locales, maintaining a very focused alertness for what I term gentle shamanic encounters.

The crudest way, which I've never intentionally practiced, is what our society calls witchcraft. This is the overt, rather crude, summoning of beings from the spirit world through ceremony (i.e. 'bell, book & candlery'). Several times I've done this accidentally through psychedelic experimentations.

The third way of access is through meditation. This is the truest, safest and most satisfying method of connecting with spirit, or higher consciousness, realms. This method also occasionally grants observable, even demonstrable, siddhi powers, like 'sliding' streetlights.

Our materialistic, 'scientific' society often gets things backwards. These incredible contacts with higher, and very different, levels of consciousnesses aren't so much goals to be sought for themselves as much as they are the by-products of our own experiencing of these states of higher awareness.            

These were my reflections on our return hike today from Sorrow Falls (where only the head of the blue Buddha I placed there is now visible above the snow load). Chase and I were starting to shiver from the minus 20 C cold, and I was experiencing parallel kundalini. We had a final confirmation and closure to the hike by another drala spot, a huge half-dead grandfather I call the condo tree because of all the visible nesting holes. 

                                                          crow's guttural croak
                                                          atop the condo tree
                                                         HELLO HELLO HELLO

The creek bank by Sorrow Falls is full of mossy green 'spirit condos'. I don't know exactly which tribe or species of beings live there, but the above pic of moss loving dakini spirits sure looks like possible inhabitants of this sacred space. I found this pic New Year's Day Jan. 2016. 


note: When Chase and I returned late this aft from hiking the same trails as described above, the following daily quote arrived courtesy of Michael Zizis. Synchronicity strikes again! - Chris

"The world is full of magical things patiently
waiting  for our wits to grow sharper.”

Bertrand Russell ~ Taurus

18 May 1872 / 2 February 1970 - British philosopher,
 logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic.

To unsubscribe to this Miscellany of Quotes please send a message to with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

Michael Zizis

96 Benson Ave.,

Toronto- M6G 2H8

ph: 416/651-0096

blogs:"The world is full of magical things patiently
waiting  for our wits to grow sharper.”

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Hangin' with Bubo (great horned owl): shaman haibun

Hangin' with Bubo (virginiansis)

(Marmora, Ontario trails haibun  -  December 29th, 2004)

Another adventure on the trails of Ontario ... it was so bright yesterday (finally) that I decided to do my daily walk facing into the sun. Chose the snowmobile trail which runs behind the old quarry hamlet of Malone. The first kilometer of the trail is thru an avenue of cedars and white pine, which then opens to a mile-long straightaway across a swamp.

About a quarter of the way across the swamp I surprised two white-tailed deer approaching to browse. This is to be expected, as many trails are lined with sumac and various other seed-bearing appetizers. Unfortunately, the deer caught my scent, and they skipped back through the swamp to a thickly wooded hummock.

Bending bloodred clusters
for a future feast

I continued along the straightaway, stopping for several minutes to soak up much-needed vitamin D. Despite the brightness the day was bitterly cold, at least minus 15C. To keep warm I set a fast pace, and was just about bowled over by a brown and gray buzzbomb from the swamp! A great horned owl brushed within fifteen feet of me, unusual as they are night hunters. I intuited where he had landed in the thick brush on the other side of the trail. There he was, perched in the upper branches of a tree.

Solstice smudging rewards:
another new friend

I had the feeling he was also watching me very carefully, and I gave a thin high whistle to mimic a small rodent. He swivelled his head further towards me like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist". We stared at each other for at least five minutes, and I felt so crazy I held out my arm hoping he'd land on it.

Synchronicity again with the owl tribe. A few days earlier I'd placed a full-colour picture of Bubo virginiansis on my home altar. This was my third major visit from Bubo, and each visit was becoming longer and more intimate.

Ancient monk/warrior readies for fresh battle:
old ways returning

Wanting to mark Bubo's location, I noticed a skeletal stump in the swamp. I paced back to it so I could memorize the spot, and then I noticed an ancient metal number "9", like an address marker on it. Very curious.

Time to head back, and reluctantly I turned away from the sun. A haze of clouds was now hanging in the sky, and taking a last glance I saw something I'd never seen before - a huge rainbow was arcing from horizon to horizon forming a corona around the sun! After the deer and the owl I wasn't sure if this was a flashback, so I walked a few hundred yards without again looking towards the sun. Yes, it was a brilliant full rainbow, framing the sun! Sylvia told me that night these are called sundogs, or parhelions.

Buddha so beautiful
a veil is required

Chris Faiers/cricket

email from Dr. John, Oct. 19/14:

Great to hear the audio, in the flesh. Viva voce. In "Hanging with Bubo" you mention sundogs. Shamanic familiars et al. Brought me back to the cremation of Chogyam Trungpa in Barnet, Vermont in '87. The morning started cloudy. Then, as the ceremonies continued, things changed. The sky cleared to reveal a sundog, the classic manifestation at the cremation of a great master. Eagles flew over, all the signs. We, in the crowd, oohed and ahed. Is this CGI? (there was no CGI in those days). All the miracles were there. As in the new testament at the crucifixion. Not part of our scientific Western paradigm, but there it was. No LSD needed. Here's Alan Ginsberg's take:

Chris Faiers (home)   |   biography & bibliography   |   Eel Pie Dharma

This haibun is from my ZenRiver: Poems & Haibun
2008, Hidden Brook Press
isbn: 978-1-897475-25-6

a limited number of copies are available from me @$10 pp - signed if you wish - illuminated free  - also if you wish  (individually illustrated with coloured pen shaman drawings)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Formentera Island: Hippie Magick with the I Ching, 1971 (haibun)

For Conrad, who asked to hear more of my travels/travails. This is a chapter from my 1990 book: EEL PIE DHARMA - a memoir / haibun -  © 1990 Chris Faiers
about my 1971 visit to the Balearic Islands off Spain.

note: Tai Grove, publisher of Hidden Brook Press, plans to issue a new edition of this book next year with the updated title: Eel Pie Island Dharma.

Chapter 17 - Formentera

To escape the psychedelic nonsense of Eel Pie and the routine of the graveyard, I decided to visit the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea off Spain.  I caught a tourist flight to the island of Majorca, where the Holmes family took their vacations.  There I hooked up with some Spanish street kids, and together we caught a ferry to the hippie island of Ibiza.  After spending the night on a rocky beach, I decided to catch the ferry to the even more remote and mysterious island of Formentera:

Sleeping in ruins
    La Guardia's flashlight
         signals false dawn

By midday I was standing on the ferry's rolling deck eating fresh figs and watching the mountainous shape of Formentera come into focus.  After disembarking I walked the couple of miles up the straight and flat only road road into the main hamlet, which consisted of the bar Fonda Pepe, a hostel, a bakery and a couple of houses.

I wasn't to meet Mette, a Scandinavian girl I had met in Majorca, until the next evening, and so I set off to explore the island.  I met up with a German student on holiday, and he invited me back to his villa.  The only tourists to have discovered Formentera were the Germans, apart from itinerant artists and hippies from all over the world.  The student talked about psychology, and then he wanted to sunbathe nude.  I got a bisexual vibe, and politely made my exit as soon as I could.  I continued following the dirt track.  There was only the occasional farmhouse, and soon I reached the sea.

The path became more rocky and began to climb.  Finally it ended and I followed the hilly rim of the sea.  There were no houses now, and I walked some miles with the hypnotic sea crashing hundreds of feet below me.  It had been a day full of excitement and fresh sea air, and when I reached what seemed to be the highest and most remote part of the island, night was falling.  Luckily, I found a small cave in the cliffs, and tucking my possessions under my head, I fell asleep with my feet in the cave and my head on the ledge hundreds of feet above the Mediterranean.

The sun awoke me early on my perch, and when I looked down into the clear sea, I saw a shark lazily undulating by:

Below the cliffs
    shark undulating
         clear morning sea

I packed my things and wandered in the direction I hoped town to be.  I stopped at a well by a farmhouse, and the old farmer spoke enough English to hold a conversation.  He had been a merchant seaman, and had retired to the outback of Formentera, his home island.

After several hours of walking, I found my way back to Fonda Pepe, where I joined the international throng of hippies, writers, wanderjahr students and hip Spaniards.  We sat in a long, raggle-taggle line on the verandah outside the cafe, drinking beer we couldn't afford and chatting.  A full-bodied blonde hitchhiker from Germany seemed quite interested in this English hippie, but the cold sores around her mouth put me off.  We sat and drank with our feet on a little railing, watching the awesome sunset over the beautifully barren landscape of Formentera.

Later that evening Mette showed up, as good as her word.  We went off and rented a room in the pensione, where they made us keep our passports in their safe.

The next day we roamed around looking for a house to rent.  This was a dharma time for me, and I met an American who was about to return to the States.  He offered to let me rent the farmhouse he had been living in, as he still had a month's rent left.  I paid him a few hundred pesetas, and Mette and I prepared to move in the next day.  The farmhouse was a beautiful stone building, with a well in front and the name "Maria Jerome" painted over the front door.  There were only three rooms, a kitchen, a bedroom and a den with an open fireplace, but to us it was a mansion:

         sesame seeds in honey

Maria Jerome faced one of the ubiquitous foot trails on the island.  There was a sparse forest across from the house, and the cottage itself was surrounded by its own fields, and the flower-filled fields of the neighbouring farmer.  The only other farmhouse was about two hundred yards away, and then a hilly vista of fields stretched all the way to the sea, about a mile and a half away.  On clear days you could even see Ibiza, and the "singing rocks" that stand guard that legend has Ulysses passed on his voyage where the sirens tried to lure his ship to ruin with their unearthly singing.

There was no runnning water, and the only toilet facilities were to squat by one of the rock fences that mazed around the house.  Propriety dictated that after shitting in the field, one covers on'e business with a rock.  A poem for the most enjoyable shits I have taken in my life:


Squatting in the ozone air
by the rock field fence
tiny perfect flowers at my feet

across the cool blue Med
the Siren Rocks of Ibiza
sing through these dancing butterflies

Mette and I moved into the cottage.  Even the name seemed a good omen, Maria Jerome being the Spanish equivalents of my mother's name, Marianne, and my brother's name, Jeremy.

We slept in the bedroom the first night, all rolled up in my sleeping bag.  Mette didn't seem horny, and didn't want a repeat of the drunken sex we'd had the night before in the pensione before leaving Fonda Pepe.  She sneezed and hacked and sneezed, and complained that her allergies couldn't stand the dust of the farmhouse.

So Mette moved back into the pensione by herself.  I was just as happy to be living in seclusion, and in a few days I acquired a couple of hippie roommates.  My second or third day in Maria Jerome I wandered the mile or so into the hamlet.  Coming towards me was the raunchiest, scraggliest hippie I had ever seen.  He probably looked like me.  He made a beeline for me, and when we said hello, it became apparent he was English.  Then one of the weirdest coincidences of my life happened.  Roger asked me if I had a place to put him up, and when I told him my name, his eyes opened wide and he pulled a scrap of paper from his dirty pockets.  My name was written on the scrap, and the address of the Eel Pie Hotel, and rough instructions on how to find the commune.

Amazingly, Roger had met California John in Amsterdam, and John had given him my name and the Eel Pie information and told him I would put him up in London.  Roger had changed his mind about going to London, and instead had made the long tour down the European coasts and then hitched across Spain, where he caught the mainland ferry for the Balearics.

While Roger was hitching south, I had decided to take the first vacation of my working career, and had taken a month's leave of absense from the Twickenham Cemetery, and also headed south.  And so this incredible coincidence, Roger and I meeting on this remote island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea!  I was even able to fulfill California John's promise and give Roger a place to stay.  The I Ching was working its mysteries.

I spent several weeks living in Maria Jerome.  Some days I would walk into the little forest and chop up dead wood for our fires at night.  A husband and wife pair of travelling hippies also moved in, and one night we had a party with wine and candles and a blazing fire.  I remember running wild through the starry night and working off any chance of a hangover the next day.

Other days were spent reading and wandering.  An old American beatnik had settled on Formentera, and to eke out an existence, he had opened a nickel-a-day library of paperback books.  I discovered the works of Kurt Vonnegut, and you couldn't have chosen a better setting for reading his classics Sirens of Titan and Slaughterhouse Five, with the flights of fantasy and incredible coincidences and ironies that are Vonnegut's stock in trade.  I felt I was living a life as romantic and exciting as many of his characters.

Other coincidences happened, as well as finding Marie Jerome and Roger.  An American hippie I met at Fonda Pepe had dated a girl I had a crush on in high school, and I learned that she had gone on to become a fashion model.  He also moved into Maria Jerome for a few days.

Every day I threw the I Ching, and one day its message was "it is propitious to cross the waters".  I didn't question the meaning, as my idyll was due to come to an end.  I left Maria Jerome in the care of the other hippies, and walked the long, narrow path down to the ferry.

Eel Pie Dharma is protected by international copyright laws. Individuals may print off a copy of this work for personal use only to facilitate easier reading.

Eel Pie Dharma - contents   |   previous chapter (16)   |   next chapter (18)

Formentera - La Fonda Pepe

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Winter Solstice Smudging (haibun) - Chris Faiers/cricket

Winter Solstice Smudging 2005

Had a great smudging ceremony last nite, altho it's obviously more fun when Morley joins me. Stated the fire around 11 pm, & had to break a trail to the chiminea thru a foot of snow. I've gotten so good at starting winter fires, even when my wood is covered in snow, that I had the chiminea roaring in 10 minutes. Had a large, almost empty bottle of Pelee Island chiraz, & made several (many?) trips back inside to take a sip & get warm while I waited for midnite. It was by far the coldest of the 3 Solstice ceremonies so far.

At midnite I did my usual ritual ringing in the 4 points of the compass, & got to use my spiffy new Tibetan bell - great strong sound! Then smudged in incense & rich smoke from the white pine boughs I collected on Monday's hike. When I awoke this morning it took a second or 2 to realize the great smoky aroma was in my hair :) Always feel refreshed & purified after the Solstice ceremony. When I looked out the window at noon all the trees were covered in white hoarfrost!

Solstice morning:
smudge smoke in my hair
hoarfrost on every tree

Chris Faiers