the face I had
before my birth
Comment: a haiku with Zen tones in which the second ku is occupied by a variant of the following well-known kōan 公案: ‘What did your face look like before your parents were born?’ The answer to the question lies in overcoming every form of dualism (the ‘father’ and the ‘mother’ in the original statement) and in attaining a state of “no-mindness” (mushin no shin 無心の心) that allows to glimpse what is called ‘the Original Face’ (cf. the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch or Rokusodankyō 六祖壇経), ie the face we can see at this very moment in the empty mirror of our mind. In my opinion, the ‘water lily’ (suiren 睡蓮) mentioned in the opening line refers to the ‘lily ku’ penned in 1963 by Nicholas A. Virgilio (Lily:/ out of the water…/ out of itself), thus emphasizing the contrast between illusion and reality, opening up to a journey of understanding that could bring out that truth that already resides in each of us.