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Saturday, September 8, 2018

A Poem for the New Moon (by Jiao Ran)

There are quite a few great Tang poems written to or about the moon, Li Bai's Drinking Alone in the Moonlight and Li He's cycle of twelve lunar poems being perhaps among the best known.  Here's a little gem by Jiao Ran that I came across this morning, which strikes me as somewhat unique -- a tribute to the new moon or the moon that isn't there.  Being on the verge of a new moon and a new lunar year, now seems as good a time as any to publish it here on my blog.

Poem for the Mountain Moon

Night after night
An old man
Always takes faith
In the mountain moon
Tonight the old man arrives
But the mountain moon
Is nowhere to be seen

* * * * 




It may be worth mentioning that Jiao Ran, in addition to being a poet, was a Buddhist monk, so I don't think it's overreaching to suggest that this poem can be read in a spiritual light, or perhaps better said, in the murk of the lack thereof. 


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