Memories like chinese poems

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
~ Lao Tzu


homesick for something
I cannot name, for home
beyond all other homes?
I am alone in a foreign land

in love with foreigners
sick of the locals
I do not want to speak
or conform to the customs

of living, sowing, reaping
i search for the Tao
but cannot find it, it evades
my grasp, like the endlessly

awake stars, they do not sleep
for light is bled in rivers
of heaven, like poems
mild-mannered echoing down

the centuries, poorly translated
by tongues who no longer speak
with the ancients, the ragged fringe
to be a rare fellow lost among

the songs, i hear music on the lips
of the clouds, that do not dream
but draw, day after day
to bid each other a sad farewell

as neighbors, as friends, as heart-broken
children that have no place
but the wiping of eyes
the lingers at the fork in the road.

into the Tao

Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin; to say that you are weak, or others are weak.

~ Swami Vivekananda


these are great trees
to walk below, temple breeze
on our back
at the edge of dusk
past dew into the greenest moss

we keep it clean
past the gate
into the great-dream

without expectation
we witness beauty
in forever new ways
wandering mountain monks
who have forgotten everything

but the candle and the meditation
the temple tree path
where we follow orange footsteps

into the sea, sequence of sunsets
autumn’s embrace of crystal ripples
on the lake that doesn’t move
ready for the white moon
to shine incandescent above everything

nothing can waver, time cannot bend
to our little will, not willing to return
we leave the world behind
to others who will learn
to leave the universe behind.



Swift wind, heaven high, summer’s cry of grief
The Golden sky’s water has fallen, autumn clouds
Approach, like a morning scene good and fine
The pear tree on the hill has little fed flowers
Seasons stir an endless shed of leaves
Summer frustrating into Autumn, whitening temples
Etched into temporary memory
For everything is temporary, I climb
The terrace alone, to abandon my cup
Of cloudy wine, the winds surge on
Many new ghosts cry to me, soon
The snow will dance in the whirling wind
To many places, communication will be broken
I will find myself in music such as only go to
The Heavens above, I will be not heard
And everything we spoke about last
Night under the moon will be forever not recorded
Through the gates I slowly walk to the end.



It is no surprise, the mouth of suffering
Cannot compare to the Bending River
The embroidery of nature renews all ill-sentiments
The waters refresh where once we tasted poisons

Dew chills the lotus pod of our youth
Mornings taint our flesh with anticipation
The pearly curtains of new days give us a hush
Now I lie by this cold river of forgiveness

Waves toss the wild rice seeds, but my eyes rise
To the colors of immortal companions
Favorite ideas, cherished ideals, precious values
My colored brush may have captured images

But the spirit of time bitterly hangs low
In gold and silver branches of green bronze
The moon comes out, and life is slippery as rain
That which gives it its support must be the High’s skill

It is no surprise, the fragrant leaves of yearnings returns
While even reclusive hermits like me, feel it
Long rains and harsh winds have not harmed the land
On the contrary, red flowers from the shown green
Will be someone’s guest tonight, a hundred years from now.

Photo Courtesy:–463238071



She brings a broom at dawn to my heart
For peach-petals open and blooming
After the moon shone from a palace beyond time
Dust fills my spirit’s halls from end to end
And, for all her jade-whiteness
My devotion cannot tell the Court of the Bright Sun

How I have been cleansed or have grown
The Yin Mountains are my cold resting place
The Moon goes back to the time of beginnings
Written to music, spoken to Spring
She brings a broom at sunsets to my soul
Placing a spark at the Pavilion of long twilight

I am about to linger awhile, and perhaps forever
As I think of my voyage through a thousand miles
Lovers have suffered since ancient times
The sorrows of parting, so how can I complain
I am not special, we are all capable
Of a thousand varieties of tender emotion
To Whom shall I impart them now?



Too young to have learned what sorrows means
The youth embraces it too tightly
Like children afraid of the night
They learn to play in the darkness

At the Hibiscus Inn, after the summer
Of flowers, maybe then
One-hearted as ice in a crystal vase
You will grow up into someone

That embraces all the good and bad
You heart may continue as a
Sheet of ice in a jade vase
But that is your story to tell

In the level dawn, all alone, you
Will be starting for the mountains
While the cold night rain hides the river
It is your fate to be so stubborn

But antiquity is now a yellow dust
As we watch against the sunset on the plains
Too young to have learned what heartbreak is
You imagine the world has hurt you indeed.





All turns to dust in my dying eyes
So it must, the clouds signal my end
Only love is that a unified land unseen
What tales the future holds, we shall see

You must not forget to tell me at my tombstone
What happens, when the light hits the water
Of your generation, I shall smile up above
While when I was alive I slept alone feeling self-pity

I must admit now that I am dead, I am as
A River of Dream, with so much excitement
For other souls and the lives of ever-after
How little I knew of things unseen

All turns to dust in my dying eyes
Three thousand years passes by so quickly
Suddenly I have become as a captured prisoner
Beyond time, but not without love

How could I forget the day we hurried
The day of the last tears you shed for me.

No Home like Femininity

Lying in bed I almost mistake Good health for youth Moonlight on the floor For memories of your skin Looking up I see the cold light For what it is, birthplace Source, cool strength Like your body that carried me … Continue reading

Wuji’s Moonlit Night


Facing snow, I sparkle with winter
Like tiny diamonds, carrying
Away my grieves, useless

Worries of the solitary snowflake
Falling ragged through the clouds
Snow dances with my feet

In the whirling wind, not green
The stove and my heart still
Look fiery red, through I cannot

Sit to read my books for grief
For grief is a dying thing
And Wuji hangs low with moonlight

Tonight, I watch the cosmic chambers
Alone, they don’t sink low like
They used to, when I was an astrologer

I do not see the jade arms of the stars
But together in brightness, through
The empty window, tears dried up.

Photo Courtesy:

Jade Dew


Jade dew are my hands
Jade dew are my feet
I walk from Autumn to Winter

Beneath the groves of maple trees
Memories within in the cold
Rivers freeze as waves rise

I am a lonely boat covered by snow
I must keep my heart to evening’s ends
Wuji to meet the night’s sky

Everyday I follow the road
To the Capital, so bleak with tears
That freeze before they hit the ground

Jade dew is my breath
Sad reed flutes in my head
I am a minstrel’s incense and song

Bathed in moonlight of a forgotten hour
This too shall pass, says the inner sage
I wait for quiet morning light

And the floating of forever-green
The coming of spring, when I am not poor
When upon the classics I may rest

In the wealth of the hopeful light
This world’s events seems too bitter
Hurried unlike my peaceful thoughts

I am too civil for civilisation’s unrest
The greed and corruption of the city
Has conquered the west, our palaces

Are now full of noblemen of a savage age
The Jade lake is now no more
Like shifting clouds, all has been changed

Bathed in a sun of dragon scales
The holy face I used to know is gone
Now I count the blue chains of our imprisonment

Pearls on curtains, embroidery on pillows
Tattoos on the poor, this land of emperors
Jade dew is my heart, I am of the server’s class

A peasant sees what others must ignore
I turn my head, sad now for the place of song and dance
That was once my home, I must leave it

Jade dew is my sweat, all waters move
To the same source, like the grandson of fishermen
Dew chills the lotus pond, fish are eaten

Oils are used, gold is hoarded
Beautiful women gathered to be used
I’ve lost the true image of life, growing old

My white head drones and gazes
Jade dew are the low branches, ah fragrant
The surplus is gone, but some things remain.

Photo Courtesy:

Treatise on Du Fu


Vulnerable while we ride the wind
We are as gulls drifting slowly up the river
Dew is heavy on the lips of sunsets
With a loving morning in view

I can feel the edge of Heaven, tatters of Autumn
Beginning to drip with the frost of Winter
The spider’s web is ready for me
Nature’s plan for me is being revealed

Long rains have turned to frontiers of snow
And the red fruit of pomegranate drops into our mouths
Like the rubies of a fastly approaching giant Comet
While we will all be separated by a human death

I will see you in my dreams in the after-life
Old friends in exiles with only words
My poetry already knows how much I will miss you
Caught in a net of a thousand nights of laughter

The setting moon will spill of our stories
As the moment when I first saw love on your face
The waters of time are deep, deeper than memory
Don’t let the river gods take you, I know the stars

Are a country of petals shed like ancient tears
Where all the grief of the worlds turns to love
In a super-nova that has the mouth of pure love
My heart is a world of water and crystal

Already ready to be reborn, like clothes damp
With the time of spring rains, long rains
Heal everything, long rain has not harmed the land
Our weeping voices will rise and join the clouds

In the blue skies our wings will not falter
But wavering, flinching, I will reach summits
Of the Sovereign in the ordinary, the rainbows built
In the supreme architecture of my descendants.

The Bamboo Gathering Sutra


I just close my eyes –
And I can see souls
That dwell above white stone

Waiting, with far-off voices
Calling the future
While candle wax burns

Off of my ignorance
A shower of white snow
That powdery wonder

Like sand-grain of infinity
I bathe in its glow
On a balcony looking out

Into nowhere, I feel the deep peace
Of years clocked only on a journey
Between star and star

I just close my eyes –
And I can remember lifetimes
The senile elements of realities

So brief, I watch them as the pretty
Wail of mandolins, the months
When we were young felt longer

I wait for the jasmine-gardened night
For the fragrance of tomorrow
The dawn where voices join

Like mouths that tremble under waterfalls
And dreams that float like Indian perfume.

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Bounty of a Mandarin Candle


My wife, your hands they fly
From my eyes into the day
where the last sunshine
touches my face in throbbed

Turquoise where the ocean
Meets the sky in barenaked syllables
A flower petal found of sunsets
My wife, we live together in

A honeysuckle celestial capsule
Absolutely in our own world
My wife, how the darkness has
Swallowed us in the mercy of

her closed wings of grandiose shelter
My wife, I love to watch the
miniature empire of your face
With the characteristics of my

eternal notebook, the lift of perfume
and laughter, the garden-dream
of your tenderness of blue material
Where life seems prosperous & lucky

My wife, the last crazy sunbeam
Of my open heart, has arrived in your form
As the flare of corn in the soil
Or the gift of rain to the natural world.

Photo Courtesy:

Face of Ananda


The moon returns like old dreams
This house of a body that cannot quench
Legends that disappear too desolate

An empty cup, love’s fingers upon the tears
Every house where once sought sunbeams of love
Cloud-like, our affections keep moving

We are drunk with a fire no water can put out –
Stars live through us, blood of
Roots ephemeral, stems organic

Crying ‘Find me’ among the shadows
Aching to feel the glory of being alive
Our skin is the subtle dense rainbow matter

Too sensitive for our own good
The light flees back to the neurotransmitter
That once in leaping maps explained it all.

Photography Courtesy:

Of Things we Might call the Touch of Spring


My mind is filled with Spring’s torrents
I bear it all again, like love
Or grief, budding maple boughs

Awake me from my mood
The first clean air, the sweet-smelling rain
O’ I am but a rock in a rising river

Pushed like a flood
Washed like a cry of the waters
Am I spring or me, I cannot tell

I am night and fog, I am veiled
Like drowsy light on my path
Where my footsteps dim and pearled
I come to the trance of empty streets
Why so hushed in morning before mirrored lights?
Glimmer and shake, here is majesty

I follow the current of beauty
And my throat knows it is not enough
That I should ache, and I should praise

Why am I crying so after love?
Instinct’s wonder and surprise
Has me caught again

I bear it all again, like love
Or gratitude, unsatisfied from above
I was not made to be satisfied

I was not made to be forever young
Spring is thus so quiet, spice and still
My head in white and topaz

Gets chills in the misty green
That aeons cannot fix
The stately dome of heaven

Inside of me, part witness, part doer
Beneath my restless stars
The cosmos pours into my gaping spring.

Photography Courtesy:

A Guest Arrives

A guest arrives, bringing spring water
Honey dew and a flock of gulls
Jasmine wreaths and maple tea
The floral path of being swept by a cloudy wine
Is this the face to bring me to Heaven?

Is this the taste of the deepest market?
A guest arrives, with music of Mandarin
So should I go to heaven above
With her in this human world, how many times
In a lifetime can I find such as this?

A guest arrives, with spring bright and clean
One clump of peach blossoms open-mouthed
Is dark or light red more to be loved?
Her pink touch is glowing in my chest
Unrestrained as the stars moving in the ocean

A reflection of the flowers of the sun
Mirrored in my soul so constantly
A guest arrives, and my house is small and thatched
But she does not notice my poverty
She makes an alchemy of gold from my fire-stones.

My Soul is Flooded in Moonlit Night

At the end of the sky I am not alone
What thoughts occupy the highest mind
What time will the wild goose revelation come
Nearer and nearer to the final bliss

The rivers and lakes are full with Autumn’s currents
Literature and worldly success are opposed
The Tao does not listen to the lies of men
Women seek more children, while demons

Exult in human failure, minor poets trip
Throwing their best poems into the river
At the end of the sky I am not alone
The sunsets do not swallow me so easily

An army of drums meets me at the last
Stop of human travels, I have felt the white dew of love
Trap me in its sweet embrace, like a homeland
The letters I will send will go astray
Who will read the magic moon of my tongue?

Dragonfly Debts


After the battle, of many lonely years
The solitary times no longer worry,
It’s only grief and a slow dying
Facing snow, I know the color is white

A dirty walking road of dusk and clouds
There is too little light this far north
But I am old, I am finally old –
Too many places, communications are broken
Family is scattered, but I cannot read
My books of grief, there are too many poems
That sound the same, too many days
Each piece of spring it will return

I cannot grieve forever, my moving eyes
Return to important things, the beauty
Lost in my studies of the world, one must
Still seek joy, the greater good, across
The passing honors, I will reveal flying blossoms
Pollen in the wind, lost faith returns
I am drunk in the debts I have made
Nature’s drops of water, dragonflies

So little time to know each other
We should not part, happiness and I
Bliss with unusual you, I watch butterflies
Go deeper and deeper into a field of flowers.

Photography Credit:

Sighs for Autumn Rain like Armageddon


When Autumn comes, the grasses
Will rot and die, like memories of haunted love
Gone wrong, like so many things in history
The past remains a dead closet of dreams
The stems of feathers too must die
Like the enchanted glowing of our hearts

That once were, now countless flowers bloom
Letting go to the colors at their cores
Their nectar and sap will not be studied
By scholars, only lovers in the present
The cold wind will moan on your white hairs

And I will breathe in that damp fragrance
Warming you with a kiss, if we still remain together
Ceaseless is the melody that distinguishes our lives
When Autumn comes, China’s silken quilt will be torn
America will stand in the rubble of its own demise

The standing grain, maybe it won’t sprout as always
We will go to the market like an impoverished farmer
But happiness will be locked behind iron gates
Our wallets will be seized by corporate thieves
We will not think of revolution then, that is for the young

We will attempt to live in harmony with the times
The rustling rain will hasten the early cold
When Autumn comes, maybe we will stand alone again
While children blithely rush through wind and rain
While geese fly hard and high with their wet wings
Will you still come to me in the lantern-lit night?

Photography Credits:

To the Women of our Ancestry’s Heroic Age

The cities are falling
Only the hills and rivers will remain
What will happen to all these men?
Spring will overtake the streets
With green, toppling old empires
The letter from home may
Never reach you, it’s not worth any
Gold, but the last attempt
To tell you I loved you
That I would never be coming home
You listened for me in the bird songs
Sorrowing over the times

The flowers wept gently
Nothing can stop the advent of Spring
The caress of Summer
Life is a calligraphy beyond regret
It surpasses even our old kingdoms
The names of gold and currency
Are like paintings in the wind
Old economies will die, like floating clouds
But love will ascend her frequency
And remain, like nature’s Emperor-praise
That is why I cannot do without you
That is why I will always hold you dear

Even if the end of the world comes
Still you will survive in the new world
Because you are that which
All civilizations are built upon.

A Woman of Quality

A woman of quality teaches you Mandarin
She takes refuge in you like
A forsaken valley, she builds there, serves there
To create a good family
She brings fortune, like heartlands that
Side with Heaven’s authority
The world will not turn against her
For her virtues insure success
She has endurance, and a heart of lamp-flames
She sheds light on any situation
A woman of quality teaches children
The ways of the compassionate world
Beyond beauty and rivalry, she empathizes
With the high mountains, the clear spring water
Her tears reach golden lowlands
Like a forsaken widow, or divorced lady
Her smile is the last saving grace
She knows the rumor of pearls, of working hard
She picks flowers and covers berries
In the sleeves of bamboo monuments
And makes a legend out of your life
Hers is the myth that will never die.

When Will I Be Able to Return

In late sun, the rivers and hills are beautiful
The fields talk of spring until summer arrives
Naked and lucid, like the blessed realms
The breeze behind your regard
Begs for sunset colors and the fragrances of flowers
The mud of our lives has thawed
As the river’s blue has a perfect touch of white
In the eyes of the soul grows riches
Beyond the daring suffering of our times
The Earth is magnificent and free
Unlike the slavish acts of men
I’ve watched the spring pass away
In another’s cheek, life has her own rhythms
I was always too young to discover them.

The Boys and Girls Have Gone to Fetch the Wine

We’ve lived our lives, been waiting without knowing
We’ve been dreaming before we knew how to love
Oh what an evening is this evening
Of the soul and of finding another
That could live so easily with us
Together in the light of this one sweet lamp
The last light of our beloved witness
With eyes shinning for many glad tomorrows
You tell me you say see me tomorrow and goodnight
I wait for you, like a diamond falling form the sky
Your exclamation has stirred my heart
Into a natural calm of dazed happiness
I am stuck with the beloved of all belovedness
We’ve lived our lives, been hoping without faith
Last time we parted, you didn’t know I would die
But I came back in another form, do you remember me?
Oh what a lifetime is this lifetime
Of the soul and of finding another
That could easily be the one for us forever.

Little Forgotten Kingdoms Beneath the Stars

I’ll meet you once in a lifetime
Where even the stars cannot meet!
What day is it? You say I seem like a dream
By candlelight, we kiss again
As if for the first time, dear
I’ll meet you once in a lifetime
That is not too many or too few times
How can youth race like it has before?
When we were meant to be together
Where even the stars cannot shine
What day is it? Time to still be together
Forever, by the divine luck of our fates
I’m surprised and joyful, how friends
Can stay together across the distant years
What day it is? You say we only met a few weeks ago
I’ll meet you once in a lifetime
And I’ll never let you go, until the roses
Themselves grow dim by the moonlight
After a long absence of love, you broke through
My great solitude, and I found you familiar
And as tender, as nobody I had ever met
What day is it? That we smile and laugh
Our way to the Heavenly kingdom
That is the crown of Earth, that you are
You have been the one person for me
I’ll meet you once in a lifetime
I waited for you through a few dozen years.

June 3rd, 2013