drafty mountain hut

Autumn Kessei 2017 Week 11

by dairo tendo

In reply to a Letter from Meng, Who’s
Gone Searching for His Old Village

After all that loss and ruin, I live at peace
far from Lo–yang summits, still unraveling

This question cloud-hidden peaks all pose.
I never leave these thorn-bramble depths—

north winds yellow leaves tumbling away,
southern streams old-age laments. Ten years

a guest of lakes and rivers — this mind all
lingering dusk grows boundless, boundless.

—Tu Fu (712-770)
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home

Autumn Kessei 2017 week 10

by dairo tendo

Reverence-Pavilion Mountain, Sitting Alone

The birds have vanished into deep skies.
A last cloud drifts away, all idleness.

Inexhaustible, this mountain and I
gaze at each, it alone remaining.

— Li Po (701-762)
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home

Autumn Kessei 2017 week 9

by dairo tendo

Listening to a Monk’s Ch’in Depths

Carrying a ch’in cased in green silk, a monk
descended from Eyebrow Mountain in the West.

When he plays, even in a first few notes,
I hear the pines of ten thousand valleys,

and streams rinse my wanderer’s heart clean.
Echoes linger among temple frost-fall bells,

night coming unnoticed in emerald mountains,
autumn clouds banked up, gone dark and deep.

— Li Po (701-762)
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home

Autumn Kessei 2017 week 8

by dairo tendo

Escaping Trouble

A white-haired old man in my fifties
I’ve fled north and south away from trouble
this feeble body wrapped in thin clothing
always on the move and never warm
beset by illness and failing health
the world all mud and ashes
for ten thousand miles on Earth or in Heaven
I haven’t found a place I belong
my wife and children are still with me
whenever I see them I sigh
my hometown is a wasteland of weeds
all my neighbors have scattered
I don’t see a road leading back
I’ve cried out my eyes on Hsiang.

— Tu Fu
translated by Bill Porter (Red Pine) in Finding Them Gone

Autumn Kessei 2017 week 7

by dairo tendo

5 Deer Park

No one seen. In empty mountains,
hints of drifting voice, no more.

Entering those deep woods, late sun-
light ablaze on green moss, rising.

6 Magnolia Park

Autumn mountains, gathering last light,
one bird follows another in flight away.

Shifting kingfisher-greens flash radiant
scatters. Evening mists: nowhere they are.

11 Vagary Lake

Flute-song carries beyond further shores.
In dusk light, I bid you a sage’s farewell.

Across this lake, in the turn of a head,
mountain greens furl into white clouds.

— Wang Wei (701-761)
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home

Autumn Kessei 2017 Week 6

by dairo tendo

Autumn night, setting moon

Poised low in emptiness, a radiant moon
glistens incandescent in a drop of dew.

Trying to settle in, magpies startle away.
Fireflies float through open blinds, cold

shadow sparse in courtyard scholar-trees.
Fulling-stick rhythms tighten next door.

How will we ever meet in a land so vast?
Lingering out emptiness, I gaze and gaze.

-Meng Hao-jan (689-740)
translated by David Hinton in The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-jan

Autumn Kessei 2017 week 5

by dairo tendo

Autumn Begins

Autumn begins unnoticed. Nights slowly lengthen,
and little by little, clear winds turn colder and colder,

summer’s blaze giving way. My thatch hut grows still.
At the bottom stair, in bunchgrass, lit dew shimmers

Meng Hao-jan (689-740)
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home