5 Smiles (sumi ink w/color, and words, Seattle, May 2016) by Rod Hemsell


Smiles # 1 The Lotus Pond

See the frolicking lotus pond with its singing and dancing colors,
its shapes resembling nature’s forms, yet nothing is really there but smiles,
in rice paper and ink tints, progenitors of delight and immortality,
yet gifts of the market place and fruits of cultural ages, of struggles
and turmoils these smiles cannot forget, in the view of one person,
sitting in a chair, seeing with hand and brush and pen … illusions of illusions …

Lotus smiles


Smiles # 2 The Elementals

See the vast and tranquil origins, the distant goals of life, the textures of illusion, the stillness and movement of creation …

smiles #2 (3)


Smiles #3 The Mountain Path

Whatever turns we are given we take
to find the lotus-heart of Truth

This is the rugged mountain path
on the way to the Truth

This rushing mountain stream
is the life-force of the Truth

These conflicting minds that cross
are the harbingers of the Truth

Matter, life, mind, soul are the meaning
and embodiments of the dream of the Truth

full view lotus


Smiles #4 The Northwest Buddha Moon

Just imagine how tranquil and luminous
this landscape would be without that dark turmoil we see.

Or, maybe, the absolute tranquility and the relative tranquility
need that wheel to link them, the cloud that veils and yet reveals to us the perfect luminosity …

Smiles #4 North West Buddha Moon


Smiles #5 The Three Purushas

See the Master as he stands on a ledge
slightly above the scenes of life below,
the forest beyond, the soft ascendant peaks,
equal to all, the master of the dance;

smiles #5 w:clouds



See the grove of life, with its close and kindred souls
standing tall yet able to bend, able to die;

See the liberated mind and heart sheltered by all around
yet held by none, peaceful and free, mirroring mountain and stream;

See the three purushas: involved in prakriti, liberated from prakriti,
master of prakriti, holding past, present, and future in his sway.

And see the smiles that these simple paintings revealed to me.