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Ripening Big Fool

Plough with a clay ox in a field of stone
And you will never see the harvest day.

- Han Shan


How thick the fog to lose my gait may get
and the dreams of doing
while looking murder in the eyes.

Broken Pudding

Droopingly with bent shoulders and hopeless hang of head and a hoarse feeling I began to dress, and get into mental processes, dreamy and young at heart. There would be no more aching nights of lagging, weird cries for a change. Buying the pistol like a man abroad in a strange place could be well. And very simple incantations, a shining gift, like panting and simple good things first. I did not smile at the thought of a broken pudding for work-out. I was clenching it somehow (for gladness of might), deeply hoarsely, in the middle of speaking.

To the Broken Back

Draw deep breaths and smile at the knowledge,
for the blazing and crackling wood catches the coal
that is you
for it.

Have a new, comfortable thing if you can.
Often six or seven.

If rested by normal sleep
get some good things,
some on your back.
Nearly always have two ways of looking at a thing,
The best way yields huge advantages.

Your Onerous Dreams

Confronting your onerous dreams
is at best of no use - no use at all.
It is hard to get above all flickering painful thoughts from
bruised and tormented days.

In My Bedroom

A bed piled high with books
With the years it grows old.
Getting books brought me to a pretty pass!
Who comes to commend me on such a way of life?
Some came and went, but far from an endless stream.

Many Worries

Autumn winds blow
Girls and women wear clothes and cloaks -
Spirits torn over broken-down bodies.
The morning sun pops up and my footsteps falter.

An old man

I studied arts in my youth.
Hunting the gods.
What's left isn't worth bother.
Who would guess I'd end up as a pine tree?
Pines sigh for the wind.
The wind blows, the grasses rustle and sigh too.

Ten Years

At noon, sitting and facing a wall, I sometimes wake up
poorly dressed
and realize that the sun has risen.
On my bed I am freed as the white clouds.
Who can rouse my thoughts?
On a bed I sit, at times alone in the night.
Over ten years have gone by this way.
Seasons pass and what is left of my hair gets brittler and grey.
Take this old body home to a far-off mountain.
A boy aiming at the eye of a mosquito might just happen to hit.

Free verse based on Tang fragments, source Han-shan, Literature  

Fragments are taken from:

Pine, Red [Bill Porter], tr. 2000. The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press.

Watson, Burton, tr. 1970. Cold Mountain: 100 Poems by the T'ang Poet Han-shan. Reissue ed. New York: Columbia University Press.

Free verse based on Tang fragments, source Han-shan, Hanshan, Han Shan, To top    Section     Set    Next

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