Sunday, July 11, 2004

Li Po

Li Po writes of drinking alone under a moon and walking with Zen masters beside clear streams of water that wind on and on to the edge of Heaven; he speaks of being in the midst of the vast, unbordered dream that is life, and floating on the currents that the spirits run through our transient, material world. Insouciant, lackadaisical musings count out the measure of his days.

At Yuan Tan-Ch'iu's Mountain Home

By nature, my old friend on East Mountain
treasures the beauty of hills and valleys.

Spring now green, you lie in empty woods,
still sound alseep under a midday sun,

your robes growing lucid in pine winds,
rocky streams rinsing ear and heart clean.

No noise, no confusion---all I want is
this life pillowed high in emerald mist.

* * *
Something Said, Waking Drunk on a Spring Day

It's like boundless dream here in this
world, nothing anywhere to trouble us.

I have, therefore, been drunk all day,
a shambles of sleep on the front porch.

Coming to, I look into the courtyard.
There's a bird among blossoms calling,

and when I ask what season this is,
an oriole's voice drifts on spring winds.

Overcome, verging on sorrow and lament,
I pour another drink. Soon, awaiting

this bright moon, I'm chanting a song.
And now it's over, I've forgotten why.

- Tr. David Hinton