The ending couplet is from Po Chu-I's "Autumn Pool"

Falling Asleep Reading P Chu-I and Finding This in the Morning

"You read me and think you can become

A sage, repeating my words as though

Your own and your answer, when they

Are only mine; speak to no one for days

And then tell everyone you're a hermit.

You don't know what you don't know.


"There's a scroll above you on the wall -  

Do you really see the nature of silence

And solitude? Thickly brushed mountains

Looming over the left side of the painting,

Layers of green clinging to the lower slopes,

Dark and shadowing fields beneath them,

Here and there the silver ribbon of a stream,

The sky a translucent light on snowy crags.

Not seen but there the cloistered monastery,

Not heard the deep somber bells to prayer.

This is silence. 


"And do you see, in the right-hand corner,

Near the bottom, the tiny figure of a man

Wearing an old long cloak of woven reeds,

Poised on a path approaching the pine hills,

Not lost but paused where the path branches.

And in the middle the necessary misty river,

A single small boat with another man fishing.

The two men are never aware of each other,

Each looking for something he's not yet seen

In the distance between them, and between

Where they are and the far-off mountains.

This is solitude.


"The figures not moving in a thousand years,

The mountains and the river there forever.

So much solitude in this far end of quiet,

A silence of mystery no one finally knows."


Poetry by countryfog
Read 466 times
Written on 2011-08-16 at 03:36

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Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
Yep, seeing isn't being. I've seen. I haven't been.

vladimir todor turmanev
Well written! Captures the style of that time and place.

I agree with WS, countryfog. This is a truly masterful write, and I feel quite humbled!
You paint with words so vividly that it's easy to form a picture in my mind, and it is very beautiful.
I shall applaud this, I think.

I love those ancient Asian landscape paintings in which you have to look very closely to even notice that there are human figures in the scene. They remind me that man/woman is just a small particle in the universe, not its center.

Every line carefully crafted, your poems shine with zen-like precision and power.