Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Three Poems by Shih-Shu

Study the way and never grow old
Distrust emotions; truth will emerge
Sweep away your worries
Set even your body aside 

Autumn drives off the yellow leaves
Yet spring renews every green bud
Quietly contemplate the pattern of things
Nothing here to make us sad

emptiness is a long story
that swallows up heaven and earth
a splash of ink turns into two dragons
stray clouds become an azure dog

lurking in my bowl: mountains,
wheeling through my breast: a sun, a moon
a fierce wind shreds the ancient mists
grasses and trees bow before its snap and snarl

The human body is a little universe
Its chill tears, so much wind-blown sleet
Beneath our skins, mountains bulge, brooks flow
Within our chests lurk lost cities, hidden tribes

wisdom quarters itself in our tiny hearts
Liver and gall peer out, scrutinize a thousand miles
Follow the path back to its source, else be
A house vacant save for swallows in the eaves

Shih-Shu – late 17th- early 18th cen.
Translated  by James H. Sandford

Taken from 'The Clouds Should Know me By Now, Buddhist Poet Monks of China.
 Edited by Red Pine and Mike O' Connor  

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