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Email from Jeanne DiPrima

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from an email Jeanne sent DC July 14, 2017

It is so good to be back in touch with you. It has been a long, strange journey. There is so much I want to ask you, so much that needs to be said. Though in honesty, my dear friend, that Conversation becomes less and less important the longer I sit with the knowledge, that I have always had, that you and I have been sitting together in Suzuki Roshi’s lap, and we are there now, and he has nothing but love for us. I have always felt his closeness, as all my life Roshi was never farther from me than my own skin. For on that skin, the tender skin of a 7-year-old, when he touched me for the first time, to the still tender skin of the 11-year-old, as he and Okusan began to make me part of their family I was tattooed with their profound love. I can still feel today their tiny, loving hands that were constantly patting me, smoothing down my unruly hair, laughingly attempting to quell my natural exuberance, seeking always to help me find the quiet, inner expression of the joy in me that at times threatened to overwhelm me. I am looking directly into Roshi’s eyes alight with the mischievous twinkle that was uniquely his. Placing one hand on each of my shoulders he pushes me down as he slowly stands. He then places his hands on each of my ears, and at once laughing yet quite serious as he says “I want you to practice growing this way” (he moves his hands slowly out from my ears) “not so fast this way.” (his hands had come to rest back on my shoulders and as he completes his sentence they rise slowly as if lifting the feet of the Buddha.) All the while, his eyes are boring into me, pouring into me the most complete, utter love I have ever known. I know I am utterly safe and will always be.

***

From Jeanne's Facebook page:

Jeanne's mother is Dianne DiPrima, a beat poet and early Suzuki student. Dianne spent a good amount of time at Tassajara with her children. Jeanne was the oldest and worked with DC in the dining room serving guests. Dianne dedicated Memoirs of a Beatnik (1969) to Jeanne. Jeanne's step-father was Alan Marlowe. Her aunt is Jeri Marlowe.

Here are two poems for Jeanne Diane wrote. - thanks for sending them Jeanne

LETTER TO JEANNE (at Tassajara)

dry heat of the Tassajara canyon
moist warmth of San Francisco summer
bright fog reflecting sunrise as you
step out of September zendo
heart of your warmth, my girl, as you step out
into your Vajra pathway, glinting
like your eyes turned sideways at us
your high knowing 13-year-old 
wench smile, flicking your thin 
ankles your trot toward Adventure
all sizes & shapes, O may it be various
for you as for me it was, sparkle
like dustmotes at dawn in the back 
of grey stores, like the shooting stars 
over the Hudson, wind in the Berkshire pines

O you have landscapes dramatic like mine
never was, uncounted caves 
to mate in, my scorpio, bright love
like fire light up your beauty years 
on these new, jagged hills

				Diane DiPrima
				1970

SONG TO BABY-O, UNBORN

Sweetheart
when you break thru
you’ll find
a poet here
not quite what one would choose

I won’t promise
you’ll never go hungry
or that you won’t be sad
on this gutted
breaking
globe

but I can show you
baby
enough to love
to break your heart
forever

					Diane DiPrima
					1957