Saturday, September 30, 2006

Some Poems I Found


Westward over Lotus Mountain
Afar, far off: Bright Star!
Hibiscus blooms in her white hand,
With airy steps she climbs Great Purity.
Rainbow robes, trailing a broad sash,
Floating she brushes the heavenly stairs,
And invites me to mount the Cloud Terrace,
There to salute the immortal Wei Shu-ch'ing.
Ravished, mad, I go with her,
Upon a swan to reach the Purple Vault.
There I looked down, on Loyang's waters:
Vast sea of barbarian soldiers marching,
Fresh blood spattered on the grasses of the wilds.
Wolves, with men's hats on their heads.

-Li Po (701-762), Translated from the Chinese by J.P. Seaton


All day I have been closed up
inside rooms, speaking of trivial
matters. Now at last I have come out
into the night, myself a center

of darkness.
Beneath the clouds the low sky glows
with scattered light. I can hardly think
this is happening. Here in this bright absence

of day, I feel myself opening out
with contentment.
All around me the soft rain is whispering
of thousands of feet of air

invisible above us.

-Wayne Dodd (1930-)


In the very earliest time,
when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was a time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A word spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could
happen -
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody could explain this:
That's the way it was.

-Eskimo (Anonymous), Translated from the Inuit by Edward Field

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.

-Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273), Translated by Coleman Barks and John Moyne


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