Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Zen of Papermaking

My friend Claudia sent me Pat's poem about papermaking. Patricia Donegan is known for her Haiku. I first met her at Naropa Institute (now University) in the early 1980's.

Her poem here is evocative of how we approach the art of hand made paper at Khandroling Papermaking Cooperative and the magic of transformation with the ultimate goal of first stroke which reflects our mind. Here below the famous enzo. 


The zen monk
took his worn out robe
made it into a shirt to hoe peas

when it wore out, he made a hat
        to keep his bald head warm
the hat wore out, he Made a pouch
        for his calligraphy brush
when it wore out, he used it for a rag
        to wipe the floors of the temple
the rag wore out, he tore it into strips
        of cloth to bind a book of haiku
when it wore out, he cut it into a tiny
        button for his robe.

Can I be a Zen monk?
take Vanderbilt bluejeans, Halston caftans,
             Pierre Cardin ties, Brooks Brothers’ suits
strip   the cloth into rags
put them in a vat, boil down to pulp
& beat it into fine threads
make into sheets of paper
then take a brush, with one lightening swoop
of my hand, write a poem in black ink
on the blank pages!

                     Patricia Donegan

The best part beating the cooked fibers into a pulp