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36 The Refuge

hexagram-36-refuge‘NEVER PACE THE floor of a sanctuary; never mix past and future in the same
thought; never dwell without intention on the undecided.’

Bullfrogs are croaking near the hut. Alder and poplar leaves are fluttering,
yet the lake is merely rippled, not ruffled. Those who seldom visit the
forest always steal some little piece of it to fiddle with as they walk.
Drunk on country wine he sent the woodcutter’s boy to fetch, he tosses
off lines of wild calligraphy, in a script like trampled grasses.

1st – The Refuge from Time
A quotation from Pindar, in praise of water, embellishes the washstand.
Olympian gods disport themselves on a glass shelf. Up to her neck in
bubbles, she entertains an artist, a captain, a diplomat, all speaking well of
the play, of her role as Rhine maiden, in youthful idioms on her birthday.

2nd – The Tornado Refuge
The twister wears a flying coat of greenish storm clouds. A passing
construction truck stops by a trailer park: within the hour everybody sits
in a shelter. Shingles, boards and satellite dishes fly by. A refrigerator is
lifted out of a wrecked house, feathers are plucked from Tupelo chickens.

3rd – The Refuge Abroad
Pick up a banner without reading it. Click! Now you’re the enemy. Her
mother and daughter are still back home, without an embassy. She dreams
of walking miles, dodging roadblocks. The Red Cross tracing service has
lost its way. She tells her story, over and over – red thread back to Syria.

4th – The Refuge Crop
Ten percent of a refuge-in-a-bag crop will not be protected, unmodified
plants suffering injury and yield loss. A separate corn borer refuge,
rotated and treated with pesticides, is sited a quarter-mile to a half-mile
from the modified field. Resistant and susceptible insects blithely mate.

5th – The Wildlife Refuge
Tourist murders make life riskier for mountain gorillas: deprived of
visitors, hungry locals are drawn to the poaching gangs. This orphan a
ranger carried through rain all day was found next to its mother shot in
the head at close quarters, alongside a couple of bananas used to lure her.

6th – The Refuge from Suffering
Microprinting gives each prayer wheel millions of mantras. The Buddha of
Compassion is manifest here and now, in the Pure Land. In your sickbed
you may turn a wheel by pulling on a string. However, the merit of
turning an electric prayer wheel goes largely to the electricity company.

All six – The Self-creating Refuge
Whole-body baptism of women required a ‘deaconess’ for propriety.
Certain extravagant practices were condoned: ‘widows’ burning incense
in the thurible, or anointing the sick. Widows and deaconesses were hard
to tell apart. Certain rare transgressions came with their own sanctuary.

Introduction to Six-Way Mirror | The Index of Hexagrams and Cantos



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