Statesboro, GA, USA
From what I have studied about Zen Buddhism, the goal of life is to eradicate desire. When I read this poem, it flows pretty consistent with this philosophy.
Audacity he prefers to a roof. This makes sense if audacity is taken to mean the boldness and confidence to deny coventional and socially accepted means of safety and comfort. This sets the ascetic tone for the whole poem.
In the next few lines, seeking, listening, thinking, waiting ... these are more cognitive / spiritual modes that may contrast things like tasting, touching, and handling. I could be reading more into this than is expressed however.
Going on ... care, order, opposing the body are all expressions of the ascetic life.
The first use of fortune is I think best interpreted "destiny" or "fate" rather than riches, the second probably aludes to riches, for something with which the author compares "death".
When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.
Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.
When I have nothing ... death. Is this the ultimate fulfillment of ending all desire for the Zen Buddhist?
Need and detachment are said to be tactical and strategic ... in accomplishing the death of desire?
The last line, seems to me to simply contrast the warm comfort of Earthly life with detachment and otherworldliness embodied in sleep. Sleep is also an ancient metaphor for death.
I think that the ending is pretty consistent with the beginning. If there is a juxtaposition, I don't see it.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (05-17-2003 11:09 AM).]