Body, Life, Peace, Poetry from The Well, Poetry I like

Perfect Harmony

Without warning the familiar pull

to speak and smile in perfect harmony

lends me the grace to dip my tongue

into the silvery pool of conversational talk.

It ends the same. Two voices deliver

the harvest of their minds, thoughts unraveling,

into a heap. The conspicuous

absence of beginning and end. I wish

to bend and twist with other branches,

but out I stick, taut, serious, too much my own.

Peace comes when that pull to combine with

the others passes – I am again centered

between ground and sky, calm and contained

inside these four quiet walls.

 

This was inspired by the poem reproduced below from Cold Mountain Poems, the Zen Poems of Han Shan, Shih Te, and Wang Fan-Chih. The bitter taste of an unfulfilling interaction is familiar.

XX

I’m used to living in some hidden, shaded,

mountain place,

but once in a while I walk straight into the

Kuo-Ch’ing Temple,

and sometimes I pay a call on old Feng Kan,

or go to see that honorable sir, Shih Te, the

foundling.

But then I come home, alone, to my cold cliff.

No one’s talk makes perfect harmony with mine.

I search a stream that has no source.

The spring dried up, but the stream water’s still

flowing.

Advertisements
Standard
Poetry from The Well, Poetry I like

New Moon by Tu Fu

The bright, thin, new moon appears,

Tipped askew in the heavens.

It no sooner shines over

The ruined fortress than the

Evening clouds overwhelm it.

The Milky Way shines unchanging

Over the freezing mountains

Of the border. White frost covers

The garden. The Chrysanthemums

Clot and freeze in the night.

 

From One Hundred Poems From the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth

 

Standard