Thursday, November 7, 2019

may as well let things go


A hundred years flash by
does anyone think this through
if what you're doing isn't clear
the edge between life and death is sheer
stitches on a monk's robe are a loving wife's tears
grains of sweet rice are an old farmer's fat
don't think charity has no reward
every seed bears fruit in time


Cares disappeared when I entered the mountains
serene at heart I let the world go
before my door the shade fades in fall
the spring roars in back after a rain
I offer tea and vegetables to a visiting farmer
to a neighbor monk I give chrysanthemums in a pot from town
the jaded life of the gentry
can't match a mountain monk's with scenes like these


This body's lifetime is like a bubble's
may as well let things go
plans and events seldom agree
who can step back doesn't worry
we blossom and fade like flowers
we gather and part like clouds
earthly thoughts I forgot long ago
withering away on a mountain peak


I've never treasured thoughts of success
I welcome old age and enjoy being free
grass shoes a bamboo staff the last month of spring
paper curtains plum blossoms daybreak dreams
eternal life and buddhahood are utter illusions
freedom from worry and care is the practice
last night the howling pine wind spoke
this is something the deaf can't hear

~ Stonehouse
translated by Red Pine
art by Huang Kung-wang a contemporary of 
Stonehouse who lived in the same area