- Love of a One-Eyed FIsh
The poems of Ryu Shiva are devoid of color and smell. They are like drinking a bland but subtle tea from East Asia. Although there doesn’t seem to be any fragrance, the last drop leaves a lingering scent as it goes down one’s throat. His poems offer an innocent joy that is akin to the birth of a new vowel that is created by the hidden meaning in his verses.
The proposition that, “There is that which is Oriental,” could carry a subversive undertone, for it suggests an ideological dichotomy. Even if one does not apply the analysis that is entailed by Professor Edward Said’s “Orientalism,” since modernity the polarization of East/West has persisted throughout the world for a long time. This polarization extends to “civilization/barbarian” and “modern/pre-modern” and has been the basis of consistent discrimination and division.
Notwithstanding all of this, when one talks of Ryu’s poetry, there is that indescribable “fundamental” that can only be referred to as son (dhyāna) Buddhist Enlightenment, an “Eastern” intuition that is embedded in his simple and succinct aphorisms and his wondrous discoveries from everyday life.