Monday, July 4, 2022

fantasies fade only in stillness

I chose high cliffs far from town
the sound of tall grass a half-open gate
where's an old pauper who isn't deferential
or a rich man who isn't vain
emergency loans don't come without strings
fantasies fade only in stillness
clouds too say mountains are better
returning at night they ease the solitude
Who enters this gate and studies this teaching
has to be thorough and push to the end
empty the body and reason remains
forget the mind and the world disappears
cloud-covered trees form a landscape of white
swallowing the sun the mountain turns red
the flag moves or is it the wind
it isn't the wind or the flag
A friend of seclusion arrives at my gate 
we greet and pardon our lack of decorum
a white mane gathered in back
a monk's robe worn untied
embers of leaves at the end of the night
howl of a gibbon announcing the dawn
sitting on cushion wrapped in quilts
words forgotten finally we meet
~ Stonehouse
from The Zen Works of Stonehouse
Poems and Talks of a 14th Century Chinese Hermit
translated by Red Pine