Two from the Master

a light snow is falling, covering the hard, frozen earth, with the illusion of softness and rather than writing, I spent the morning creating a Korean meatball dish for the World of Film Series tonight.  the careful measuring of sesame seeds and soy sauce, green onions and vinegar, the mixing of lean ground beef and a sweet barbecue sauce simmering on the stove, these motions became the morning’s poetry.  now hours later, slightly worked up by a day’s work, I turn to Gary Synder’s translations of Han Shan’s Cold Mountain Poems  and find things quieting down around me:

5

I wanted a good place to settle:
Cold Mountain would be safe.
Light wind in a hidden pine-
Listen close- the sound gets better.
Under it a gray-haired man
Mumbles along reading Huang and Lao.
For ten years I haven’t gone back home
I’ve even forgotten the way by which I came.

15

There’s a naked bug at Cold Mountain
With a white body and a black head.
His hand holds two book-scrolls,
One the Way and one its Power.
His shack’s got no pots or oven,
He goes for a walk with his shirt and pants askew.
But he always carries the sword of wisdom:
He means to cut down senseless craving.

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