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The Journey to the West

Though we journey to the West We pray to the East More or less that's the way Each day begins and ends It’s a tale everyone ...

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Tasty Truth or Two

Much as Loolu
Heads down the street
On the trail of
A chicken-bone 
So am I in pursuit
Of a poem or two
While ambling along
28th Street tonight

And with the benefit
Of sufficient illumination
Perhaps I'll manage
A phrase or two of my own
Along the way

As the Truth may be
Stumbled upon
Like some sliver
Or tasty fragment
Loolu has discovered
Down near the gutter
To be savored
Before resuming
Her way

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lullaby for 28th Street

When a symphony
Of hacking coughs
Troubles me long enough
Blocking the easy path
To a good night’s rest

It's a ratty old pair 
Of cotton sweat pants 
I avail myself of
In surrender to other music
Stirring in my chest

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Three Poems by Wang Wei

I have recently translated a series of three short poems by the the great Tang poet Wang Wei.  If you are interested in learning more about these poems then please sign up for the free newsletter I publish intermittently which you can find here:

The Yu Gong Valley -

Heading into a valley
Quite simply traveling
With nobody else
But Master Li
To accompany me

Nothing is needed
For either of us
Except a place to sleep
Empty and carefree

Content without regard
Whether it’s spring or summer
Or whichever way
East or west may lie

Just like a child
That’s how it feels
Lowly and lofty
At one and the same time


A simple home
In a simple valley
A valley at first that
Looks so unbecoming

Although we travelers
Leave not a trace
Still the valley resounds
With an answering cry

And to a cloudless sky
Comes the onset of darkness
Followed soon enough
By day’s bright return

Here’s the true meaning
Of this place
In a simple valley
From simplicity itself
Everything else derives
To find this valley
So lofty but plain
Depends on nothing
But a careful search

Not looking all over
For some remote spot
Because this place
Lies closer at hand

Traveling once
It can be reached
Without much trouble
But to abide in its presence  
Requires greater depth

Living by the word
As mortality’s guest
When desire takes hold
It’s to this simple place
The mind returns