Thursday, February 14, 2013

Analysis of "'To be with a koan'" by Dick Allen

Original poem reprinted online here: "'To be with a koan'" by Dick Allen
Originally read: December 9, 2012
More information about the Poet:  Dick Allen





"At first I found the humor odd, but I understand this point.  It's used to break away the stereotypical  Zen Master (which [in italics] is Zen"

I'll admit it, when I first think of Zen Master, I think of an old bald Asian guy giving advice in riddles or a koan.  Then if I delve further to popular media portrayals and then I think of David Carradine -- that portrayal of the monk who is silent, travels, well-learned.  But the poem doesn't reinforce the stereotype.  The mention of Hamlet, to me is more cursory than allusion even though it goes into details.

Yet look at the details pointed out by the Zen Master about Hamlet, "small pigs," "tiny villages," "bee and bee keepers."  There's no mention of Yorick, or murders, or play within a play -- no, it's tiny details.  Something not thought about.

So the ending metaphor about the lemonade powder stirring really is not conventional, and doesn't feel like a koan -- or how I perceive a koan (I don't study koans).  The last lines combines image and philosophy really well with something so mundane as lemonade powder.


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