Poems by Harley White

  and other works








               MY VILLANELLE

I want to learn to live before I die
To glimpse the light that makes my vision clear
To see the truth that lies within the lie.

I freely put the questions ‘how?’ and ‘why?’
And seek the face unknown in darkest fear.
I want to learn to live before I die.

The days and years stream swiftly swiftly by
In shimmering illusions cherished dear
Despite the truth that lies within the lie.

I found my hand in yours, so you and I
Gave each our vows, impassioned, young, sincere.
I want to learn to live before I die.

The teachers teach, the prophets prophesy
But miss the mystic rhythms of the sphere
Nor see the truth that lies within the lie;

Pure-hearted self; I sense a higher cry
To never leave the far yet love the near.
I want to learn to live before I die
To see the truth that lies within the lie.





               1 - SONNET ON VISION


What inward sight illuminates our way -

Whose lucid eye can all the ages span -

To see the Mystic Law that holds its sway

Beyond the endless birth and death of Man?

The luminary moon, when night is done,

Still rules the tides, though the daylight hides it.

The lotus always turns to face the sun

And yet what blossom eye ever guides it?

The cross-eyed men with intellect adorn

Their intuitions - blind who lead the blind -

The common mortals - blind when they were born -

With doubtful eyes that Truth could never find.

   We look - we stare - we gaze and gaze - but we,

   With sightless eyes, forever fail to see.


      Harley White   October 6, 1999





               2 - SONNET ON TIME


Is time a spiral stairway that we climb

Whose unendingness we seek to borrow

To the last wrought syllable of our rhyme

Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow -

The fusion of the future with the past

In dizzying dimensions ever new

Which hurl us headlong in a void so vast

That what we view as false appears as true?

We must peer through bars forever blocking

Upon the threshold of our promised land -

At the gates of eternity knocking -

Outside we stand - albeit hand in hand.

   Through the rush of time we’re ceaselessly swirled.

   How heartless is the transience of this world!


      Harley White   October 7, 1999





       3 - SONNET ON MIND


When reflecting on the nature of mind

Of what wit or wisdom do we dare speak?

For the wind in the sky is all we find,

In a round and round game of hide and seek.

It’s mind over matter, sages surmise;

With power of mind as their driving force

Deductive logicians philosophize

From ‘We think, therefore we are...’ as the source.

We muse; we spin, in dreaming delusion,

Our webs of thought, until nought we behold,

And heady with sense, fall in confusion.

Or is yet the end of the story told?

   As our labyrinth journey turns and twists,

   We lose our way in miasmas and mists.


        Harley White   October 8, 1999







                                 THE  SEA  AND  I




Once  I  was  sand  dab small

                       urchin  of  the  tides

                                                shrieking  with  the  gulls

                                       on  my  blanket  of  sand

                            and  head  high  as  the  waves

               I  was  playmate  to  the sea

                                         One  and  one  were  we

                                                              under  the  clouds  of  foam  . . .

                                                  Sand  crabs  tickled  my  toddles

                            The  conch  sang  hushabies  of  the  surf

                                        The  horses  of  the  sea

                                                           whinnied  the  tunes

                                                                of my periwinkle dreams  . . . . . .


                                                   Who  sells  cockles  for  my  suckle?

                                                     Who  can  cuddle  stars  to  sleep?

                               What  Sandman  rock-a-byes  yesternight’s  cradle?


All  the  sun  long  day

                         I  melted  from  green  to  gold

                                                 holding  the  hand  of  the  sea

                                     for  only  a  rainbow  long 

                              and  gathering  handfuls  of  mist

              I  was  Captain  of  the  tides  . . .

                                        Dolphins  dipped  to  my  horn

                                                          The  turrets  of  my  castles

                                  trembled  the  wind

                        The  shrill  of  my  whistle

                                             shivered  the  still

                                                                    of  the  serpent’s  lair  . . . . . .


                                                    Who  can  ride  the  ebbless  tide?

                                               Who  can  borrow  wings  from  the  wind?

                               What  Sandman  can  cool  the  burn  of  my  yearnings?


Each  stolen  night  and  day

                    I         streaming  down  the  shore

                                                    danced  the  fire  dance

                                        in  the  tongues

                                                           of  the  leaping  waves

                                   Neptune  strong

                      Colossus  high

        I  strode  the  shallow  deep

                               Buccaneer  of  the boundless  main

                                                  Captain  Hook

                                                               of  my  mussel  fleet  . . .

                                      The  peaks  of  my  mountains

                                                        scraped  the  clouds

                       The  crash  of  my  drumbeats

                                             thundered  the  sky

                               The  sting  of  the  salty  spray

                                                         blurred  my  lordly  eyes


               Hickory  Dickory  heedlessly

                                            I  waded  the  Gulliver  shore

                                  While  sands  of  the  hourglass  trails

                                                          trickled  forever  by  . . . . . .


                                                Who  can  caress  the  foam?

                                                Who  can  touch  nevermore?

                                         What  Sandman  can  dry  the  tears  of  the  sea?







                                              YOU   AND   I



            Do not give me words of wisdom

                        Give  me  of  yourself

                                                      in  gentle  flow  . . .

                  When I am mute

                                   be not my voice

                            Let me wander      the shores        of your silence  . . .

            Take not my anger           on your shoulders

                    If  I ask you ‘How?’

                                  answer that                               nothing more   

                           Join  in  my  laughter              if  it  be  your  pleasure

When  I cry out ‘Help!’

                                    give not advice   –

                                              whys and wherefores          dos and don’ts   –

                              Hold  me                                  that  my  tears  may  come

                                                                                                                     and  go  . . .


                      If  I  fall              do  not  lift  me  to  my  feet

                                   Stay by my side awhile                I’ll right myself

            Please  don’t  speak  in tones  of  reassurance

                         Give me your trust

                                                            and  your  hand  . . .

                      When  I  cower      frozen  in  fear

                                 give me not protection

                                                    safety would suffocate

                                       Let me but linger before the warm fire of you

                                                                                 till  my  own  rekindles  . . .


               I may scream my anguish

                       do not silence me with words

                               Mine     is  my  pain

                                    only   embrace  me    in the strong circle of your arms

               Yet       do not fill me when I’m empty

                       Share                share where you are

                                      that I may feel your presence            and my own  . . .

                 If  I’m lost               choose not my road

                        My direction          I will  find          my way

            Give me no vows                 speak not of promises

                  All  the  rest  of  your  tomorrows  cannot  touch  today  . . .


                         I  would  know  you  here

                                                                     in  the  now  of  our  being

                                   meeting  anew      each   liquid  moment           into  another

                          One    and  one        are  we


                                                   I  giving

                                                                  you  giving


                                                                                                   in gentle flow  . . .









I   am  the   metronome

mover               of               measures

        wide      . . . . . . . .         wide        . . . . . . . . . . . .        swings   my   pendulum

tracing   the   tempos   of   time




    my hands

a  poco  a  presto



the   strings   of  my  mind



I  am  the  hollow


         Trickle my tunes                   

           to  the  tilt  of  the  times                



            The  see-sawing  sea            

paces  my  sands --                                    

          murmurs  ageless  songs      

            in  major

                        and  minor



Sharp waves                        

crack  my  still  mirror --   

    capture  the  startled  sun

                     in  splintered  rays




I   am   the   pulse   of   the   wordless   deep               


                constant   my  cadence                          


 the   play   of   my   tides                                     


                the   gravity   of   the   moon















Once I was

Then I was Harley

Then I was Harley being Harley


Then I was Harley being Harley being Harley


Then I was no longer Harley ... I was Harley White


Then I was Harley White being Harley White


Then I was Harley White being Harley White being Harley White


Then I was no longer Harley White ... but I was still Harley White


Then I was Harley White not being Harley White


Then I was Harley White not being Harley White being Harley White


Then I was no longer Harley White not being Harley White


Then I was Harley White


Then I was Harley


Now I am beginning


to be






with the unchanging
the Mystic Law
that reigns
over all
life’s functions
in the palace
of my self

to dignity
lets me
from top
to bottom

my ever seeking
to the light
of immutable
that is
the entity
of my mind

roars away
flows forth
the fathomless
water of wisdom

my life
with every
of every
birth and death






Life flashes by in a moment of time.

    Late twilight’s rose fades, the sweet songbirds leave.

Though we strive to remain in reasoned rhyme,

    All living will die, the joyful will grieve.

What vision can guide us?  What blinding sight

Could glow like a lantern to light the night?

    The sages and prophets the wide world round

    Still fumble in darkness, fall to the ground.

The winds of impermanence blast and blow.

    Yet ages ago did the truth resound—

The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.


How swiftly we play out our pantomime!

    Companions with whom on an autumn eve

We versified the moon’s heavenly climb

    Have vanished in silent recitative.

The tiger of death with eyes burning bright

Does roar long before we must bear its bite.

    But thralled in the lust to be world-renowned

    We hear not, nor heed this frightening sound.

Yet there’s a chant that can death overthrow,

    A single phrase in which blessings abound—

The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.


The medicine men have cures for a dime.

    Specious magicians with tricks up their sleeve

To treat our afflictions each will say, ‘I’m

    The wisest.’  Thus they deceive the naïve,

Look down on the rest from their puffed-up height.

For prizes, awards with great appetite

    Wry buffoons, erudite, all capped and gowned,

    In circumlocutions their words have wound.

Yet the healing phrase not one can bestow

    Is elixir medicine to be downed—

The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.


Some live for adventure, hear midnight’s chime;

    Others in misery crave death’s reprieve.

Still to waste our precious life is a crime

    Or let our days meaningless matters thieve.

Gold will be gold, of great value, despite

A fool falsely weighing its worth as slight.

    With profit, fool’s gold, our actions are crowned.

    ‘We are happy,’ we say, with faces frowned.

Yet one practice gives proof that we can show,

    However madly we’ve capered and clowned—

The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.


Security, peace are benefits prime—

    A fabric of cause and effect we weave.

Dimensions ageless, eternal, sublime—

    All are wonders within we can achieve.

In a muddy pond the lotus pure white

Emerges from earth, as wrong turns to right.

    In the sea of sufferings most are drowned,

    For sadness and sorrow us humans hound.

Yet enlightenment’s path is ours to know,

    Where fortune upon good fortune will mound—

The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.




To discard the shallow, seek the profound

Takes courage and faith in equal compound.

    Yet water of wisdom will always flow,

If we embrace what will truly astound—

    The daimoku, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!





Once upon a time I dreamed
I dreamed there was a once upon a time
I dreamed with the mind that dreams
I dreamed in the darkness of dreams
I dreamed the delusion of dreams
I dreamed was asleep and dreaming
I dreamed a dream in the depths of a dream

Once upon a time I dreamed
I dreamed a dream within a dream
I dreamed a dream dreaming a dream
I dreamed and was lost in a dream
I dreamed a dream in a dream
of the sorrows of birth and death
I dreamed a breath outgoing
had no dream of an incoming breath

Throughout my giddy-paced time
I strutted my reason and rhyme
like a phantom floating
whisked away in a wink
from the lapis lazuli home
where life is fleeting and fragile
more flimsy
than bubbles of foam

Once upon a time I dreamed
of present mirth and present laughter
a dream of birth with no hereafter
I dreamed a dream
with the wind and the rain with hey and ho
I dreamed a dream
that that is, is -- the world begun
I dreamed a dream
but that’s all done a great while ago
Say it again above the din the pomp and show

The worldwide seekers of peace
with their bland brands
of human-ism delirium
the darkness of dreams
the darkness of delusion
which manifests
in greed maddened rampaging rage
ignorance and hate
the fundamental darkness innate
as is the reality
of original enlightenment
inherent in the dreamers
who are asleep and dreaming
the dream within the dream

Once upon a time I dreamed
I dreamed I was dreaming a dream
I dreamed I had been dreaming
I dreamed of dreaming a dream
I dreamed a dreamy dream
I dreamed a dreamer’s dream
I dreamed of a ceaseless self
within the self
within the self
I dreamed of my self
I dreamed I would awaken
awaken from the dream of death and birth
I dreamed I would be born and die
on an endless inner enlightened earth

Once upon a time I dreamed
I dreamed a dream of inspiration
I dreamed a dreamer’s aspiration
I dreamed I would not speak
the babbling gossip of the air
I dreamed I would not write
wild words and ornate phrases
I dreamed I would borrow
the language used in dreams
I dreamed I would entice
the dreaming people to awaken
I dreamed the dreaming people
would awaken from the dream
So on and on I go



Dharma Gateway



Death, existence, come and go,

Like a tidal undertow…

Waves that toss us, winds that blow,

Raging storms and biting snow,

Hunger, anger, joy, and woe,

Hellish heat with burning glow…


Saints and sages ‘in the know’

Quibble bookish quid pro quo.

Artful seekers high and low

Chase illusions to and fro,

Board their boats and row, row, row,

Partially-illumined, though…

Ever-present, apropos,

Where true wisdom waters flow,

Those mind-opened practice, show

That enlightenment will grow

From the lotus seeds they sow

(Equally for friend or foe)

Of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.


Mortals here on planet Earth,

Do we see a being’s worth?

Know the gateway to be free?

Realize where lies the key?


Ancient Buddhist scrolls unfurled,

Let us sense our inner world,

Walk around within, explore,

Enter through the Dharma door…


Lost will find what’s gone amiss,

In despair, in want, or bliss…

Humankind at precipice,

Life itself abides in this

Single all-embracing phrase!

Sounds profound, astound, amaze…

Who recites it sings its praise,

Dark of nights and bright of days…


Utterness Dharma

Wholly revealed!

Sentient karma

Lastingly healed!


And we plod on… fast or slow,

With the work in progress, so

As to render what was heard,

Each and every golden word

Of the Oral Teachings by

Nichiren… that is, we try—

Plus some Buddha Writings, more

Handed down from ages yore,

Many from the olden store

Still as timely as before—

Thus to offer, help bestow

This Nam-myoho-renge-kyo…





— Harley White

September 3, 2012


Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō means to devote our lives to and found them on (Nam)

the Utterness of the Dharma [entirety of existence] (Myōhō)

permeated by the underlying white lotus flower-like mechanism

of the interdependence of cause, concomitancy and effect (Renge)

in its whereabouts of the ten [psychological] realms of dharmas (Kyō).


For Martin Bradley and Gerhard Lenz
































Sleeping Beauty — Rapunzel — Rumpelstiltskin


Work in Progress — by  Harley White


To Nichiren Daishonin


“The example of one person represents the

impartial truth inherent in all human beings.”


Nichiren Daishonin, Gosho Zenshu, p. 546








June 17, 2000






PART ONE    Heritage

Chapter One   Sleeping I Beauty

1        Innumerable Meanings

2        Being . . . Becoming

3        Celebration

4        Gifts

5        Foreboding

6        Prophecy

Chapter Two   Spells

1        Mystic Seeds

2        The Wake

3        Blooming

4        The Spindle

5        Expedient Means

Chapter Three   Megrims

1        Region of Darkness

2        Fast Asleep

3        Papaver Pipedreams

4        Nadir

5        Dormancy



PART TWO    Dream Worlds

Chapter One   Alter Ego

    Masquerade (a theater of the absurd play whose protagonist is Misfit Man)

Chapter Two   Rapunzel

1        Hunger

2        Stolen Child

3        Involution

4        The Tower

5        Locks and Ringlets

6        Betrayals

7        Banishment

8        Blindness

9        Tears


Chapter Three   Out There


    Phantasmagoria (again the protagonist is Misfit Man)


1        I’m Back

2        Labyrinth of Choices

3        Palace of Palindrome

4        Sesquipedalius

5        Rose-Colored-Glasses Land

6        Barroom  (This section with its “bartalk” became very 

              long and is now a separate doc.)

Chapter Four   Rumpelstiltskin

1        Scrapbook of Straw (contains a lot of my old writings, poems, short stories...)

2        That

3        Jactitation

4        The Trial

5        Periphrasis

6        Spinning

7        Fait Accompli

8        Issues . . . Imbroglios

9        Perdition

10        What’s in a Name?

11        Sobriquet

12        The End of That


PART THREE    Awakenings

Chapter One   Odysseys

1        Shot (Misfit Man)

2        Treacherous Tossings and Turnings (Rosamond “Sleeping Beauty”)

3        Point of Departure (Misfit Man)

4        Picking Up the Thread (Sleeping Beauty story continues)

5        Who Me? (Misfit Man)

6        Quest (Misfit Man)

7        Stirrings (Rosamond)

8        Inroads (Misfit Man)

9        New Vistas (Misfit Man becomes the Prince)

10        Evocation


Chapter Two   Convergence (the two come together)


1        Brought Round

2        Double Take

3        Summoning

4        Resurgence

5        Reanimation

Chapter Three   Fulfillment

1        Abandon

2        Betrothal

3        Dearly Beloved

4        Homestretch

Chapter Four   Sojourns

1        Wrap-up

2        Untold Tales

3        Wonderful Sound

4        Sea of Vows

5        Transmission