Poetry, Flash Fiction, and Haiku by Stefan Sencerz

 “Silent Night, Holy Night...” 

            By Stefan Sencerz 

Winter covers the earth with snow. 
My grandmother says, listen carefully 
tonight, creatures will talk. 

Have animals been delivered, I ask. 
She smiles as only she can and leaves. 
I wait late into night, I hear: 

Silent Night! Holy Night! 
All is calm all is bright 

            ‘grabbed, ‘strangled, ‘beak burned 
            ‘feet caught in wires, ‘cut open, ‘bleed pain 

Silent night! Holy night! 
Shepherds quake at the sight

            ‘broken, ‘pushed through the odors of death 
            sharp edge approaches. ‘Fear! ‘Fear! ‘Fear! 

Radiant beams from thy holy face, 
With the dawn of redeeming grace

            Millions smashed 
            dumped in a garbage pail 

Silent night! Holy night! 
Son of God, love’s pure light

            Oh! The Great Compassionate One 
            please return 
            so slowly 

Silent night! Holy night! 

Fog wrap around the tall pines 
as if inviting the ancestors 
to return to earth in peace 

I wait late into night 
listen carefully 

Mother, brother, sister! 
Where are you? 

“Animals Are Superior to Humans” 
(a Zen koan not included in any of the famous books of koans) 
            By Stefan Sencerz 

One day, Junior Sen approached the great master Sen Tze, and said: “You have explained the Buddha’s wisdom. And you have also explained the wisdom of Patriarchs. But what about the animal wisdom?” “A lion has his karma and a deer has his karma, too,” the master replied immediately. “Do you understand?” 

“A lion has sharper teeth,” a student said. “I think a lion is superior to a deer.” But the teacher only shook his head and continued, “And the deer runs faster and farther than lion. Perhaps you should do less thinking and more sitting on your ass. Go back to a meditation hall!” 

The student spent the entire night on his meditation mat, returned next day and said, “So, are humans superior to animals?” 

And, again, the teacher shook his head and continued gently: “You should be given 30 blows with my stick. But, being a skin-bag full of rotten bones and decaying flesh, you ain’t good enough for such a treat. Allegedly, human wisdom is limitless. But, apparently, so is human stupidity”. 

“So, you mean that animals are superior to humans, right?” And the master replied “No, Junior, that would be dumb. I simply mean that a lion has his own karma and so does a deer. And we humans have our karma, too”. 

Upon hearing these words, the student reached awakening. 

            By Stefan Sencerz 

my date orders chicken – 
tormented wings 
flutter around our table 

I swat a bug
while praying for its soul— 
silence deepens 

full moon— 
dancing like camels in the dunes 
my pups’ shadows 

returning home— 
a stray kitten on the stairs 
purrs her mantra 

another dawn— 
I share tacos 
with my dogs 

a gust of cold wind— 
we step gently 
over butterfly wings 

another sunset— 
the dogs sniffing 
a fallen leaf 

- Stefan Sencerz, born in in Warsaw, Poland, came to the United States to study philosophy and Zen Buddhism. He teaches philosophy, Western and Eastern, at TAMU-CC. He has numerous publications in philosophy journals and several refereed poems that appeared in various nationally distributed poetry journals. He has been active on a spoken-word scene winning the slam-masters poetry slam in conjunction with the National Poetry Slam in Madison Wisconsin, in 2008. 

Copyright©2020 by Stefan Sencerz. All Rights Reserved.