Without Dragons, Ensos, Parables & Koans
by John High

“Time to let dragons speak

they have a right to clarity

Pound's ming in the second tone, its homophones”


-- Robert Kelly, Calls 18

“When I found this form, the dragon, I was filled with self-love for the first time in my life.”


--Gabor Mate

In spring 2020 Wet Cement Press will be publish a book of Ensos and handwritten poems by John High tentatively titled, "Without Dragons: Ensos, Parables & Koans." John High is a gifted poet, teacher, zen monk and spiritual activist, based in Brooklyn. For a few years now, two or three times a week, I've woken up to find a text from John containing a new enso. "An enso is a sacred symbol in Zen Buddhism meaning circle. It is traditionally drawn using only one brushstroke as a meditative practice in letting go of the mind and allowing the body to create." (Barbara Bash)


Being a writer, John's ensos almost always include words. During the winter of 2018/19 most of his words had something to do with dragons. As often happens, once someone brings something to your attention you start seeing that thing everywhere. This is exactly what happened to me. I now see dragons in poetry books, in museum shows, in sunsets, in close friends and in complete strangers. I had no idea dragons were so common!

Click to see full size images.

--Thoreau Lovell

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