am i dreamer
or is dream dreaming me

does it matter after all, if i am or i am not

does sun feel the heat of day
does light see its image in the dark
during rain, do fish absorb more water
and would brown bear rather be horse

does it matter after all, the curiosities

when fish and water are one
when light and dark are indistinguishable
when brown bear is neither content nor discontent
when questions cease and ideologies melt
when there is no helping and no taking
. . . there is this


This is my poem offered for Victoria C. Slotto’s Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt today, ekphrasis, or a rhetorical response inspired by artwork.

The artwork here is an ensō, which in Zen Buddhism is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two unrestrained strokes. It is meant to express that moment when the mind is still, allowing for creation. It symbolizes enlightenment. I find it visually and spiritually elegant. I appreciate its spare message and the void it represents, called mu. Those of us from the Abrahamic traditions frequently misunderstand this concept and think it is negative and depressing. It’s not.

The ensō is done as a part of spiritual practice and it is a kind of meditation in the way that all creative efforts are meditation. It is a wonderful example of the Japanese aesthetic, wabi-sabi. In that spirit, I kept the poem simple and included white space in the layout.

Join us HERE at The Bardo Group blog for the details on today’s prompt and to include your own work. We’d love to see you and to have the opportunity to drop by your place and read your work.

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Illustration ~ Ensõ , calligraphy by Kanjuro Shibata XX via Jordan Langeller under CC SA 3.0 unported


  1. This reminds me so much of those moments when I discuss the theology of freedom. Are all of our choices determined or do we make all our choices? Do we dream? Or are we dreamed? In the end, it never matters as we can only hold onto the wholeness of who we are–dreamer and dreamed.



  2. I loved your choice of artwork, Jamie, and the poem was complete in the eloquent simplicity of it. It did indeed feel like a “still moment” of meditation, where everything is connected and in balance. It’s funny, because we are taught as poets to savor and capture the smallest details; that it’s the striking imagery and details which pull the reader in and flesh out a poem…and yet, in this piece, those details do not matter – they are one and the same. An interesting take on a different type of poetry. I really enjoyed this. 🙂


  3. Myra Schneider, in her article ‘Who is Poetry For’ said, words to this effect, that “poetry communicates or expresses what is vital in life and thought”. Aside from being a thought provoking ekphrastic poem, Jamie, you’ve presented here a clear example of just what is vital, not only for poetry, but also for the sustenance of life itself. If all human beings could grasp this deeply essential principle, then there would be far less agitation in human thinking and, in consequence, far less war and more peace. Rock on, Poet 😊


    1. I think you are right, Michael, but your comment makes me ponder my use of “matter” here and consider other words to have my say … So, it is a work in progress as it turns out. LOL!

      Thanks for your visit and taking the time to comment, Michael. Happy days.


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