Posted in Buddhism, Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry


Zhuangzi Dreaming of a Butterfly by Lu Zhi (1496–1576), Ming dynasty, mid-16th century Ink on silk, 29.4 x 51.4 cm



Jamie Dedes

A Man sleeping … yes!

A Butterfly flitting… yes!

Zhuangzi, dreamer of Butterfly,

ponders what joy there might be

in that tiny Butterfly brain, so small

too small to be perceived by I or eye

Is it dreaming me? he asks

Or, am I dreaming it?

Imagine the Universe engaged,

he thinks to himself, inside that flutter

– thunder, a Cosmic Belly Laugh –  Ho! Ho! –

Then Zhuangzi knows: He is silent

flitting from flower to flower in eternal spring

coming and going, going and coming

This is called the Transformation of Things


© poem, 2012 Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Photograph courtesy of Gemeinfrei, in the U.S. public domain.


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  1. Love this, Jamie. You really crawled inside this one, it seems. My favorite lines:
    “Imagine the Universe engaged,
    he thinks to himself, inside that flutter ”

    Oh, I share that! The Universe that lives within each breath we take…


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