drafty mountain hut

always at home, forever on the way

Tag: Autumn

Autumn Kessei 2017 week 9

by tendo zenji

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 5

by tendo zenji

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

Autumn Kessei 2017 Week 4

by tendo zenji

Climbing Green-Cliff Mountain in Yung-Chia

Taking a little food, a light walking-stick,
I wander up to my home in quiet mystery

the path along streams winding far away
onto ridgetops, no end to this wonder at

slow waters silent in their frozen beauty
and bamboo glistening at heart with frost,

cascades scattering a confusion of spray
and broad forests crowding distant cliffs.

Thinking it’s moonrise I see in the west
and sunset I’m watching blaze in the east,

I hike on until dark, then linger out night
sheltered away in deep expanses of shadow.

Immune to high importance: that’s renown.
Walk humbly and it’s all promise in beauty,

for in quiet mystery the way runs smooth,
ascending remote heights beyond compare.

utter tranquility, the distinction between
yes this and no that lost, I embrace primal

unity, thought and silence woven together,
that deep healing where we venture forth.

-Hsieh Ling-yün
translated by David Hinton
in The Mountain Poems of Hsieh Ling-yün

Autumn Kessei 2017 week 2

by tendo zenji

Dwelling in the Mountains 12

Far off to the south are
peaks like Pine-Needle and Nest Hen,
Halcyon-Knoll and Brimmed-Stone,

Harrow and Spire Ridges faces together,
Elder and Eye-Loft cleaving summits.

When you go deep, following a winding river to its source,
you’re soon bewildered, wandering a place beyond knowing:

cragged peaks towering above stay lost in confusions of mist,
and depths sunken away far below surge and swell in a blur.

—Hsieh Ling-yün (385-433)
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home

Autumn Kessei 2017 week 1

by tendo zenji

In Reply to Mulberry-Bramble Liu

 In this meager home, guests rare, I often
forget I’m surrounded by turning seasons.

And now falling leaves litter courtyard
emptiness, I grow sadder, realizing it’s

 autumn already. Fresh sunflower thickets
fill north windows. Sweet grains in south

 fields ripen. Though I’m far from happy
today, I know next year may never come.

 Get the kids together, I call to my wife,
it’s the perfect day for a nice long walk.

 —T’ao Ch’ien (365-427),
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home