This Kind of Unknowing

by Ok-Koo Kang Grosjean



When we say

we don’t know

at least

we know we don’t know.

Not knowing at all

is when we don’t know we don’t know.



consider this kind of unknowing:

A flower

not knowing its beauty

a mountain its majesty

a saint his virtue.


That which moves us—

an eye’s sparkle

a temple bell’s sound

the line of a poem—



are springwater drawn

from this kind of unknowing.



From A Hummingbird’s Dance, Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 1994, page 49. This poem dwells in the concept of shiranu go hotoke (知らぬが仏), which means “Not knowing is Buddha.” See also Beauty Only and Were I a Flower.       +       +


Erasure by Austin Kleon, 2023.