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Thursday, March 25, 2021

A Single Spring (by Han Shan)

Today I translated this poem by Han Shan, the hermit-poet of Cold Mountain.  It's the last line of this poem that takes my breath away.  How many years lie within a single spring?  This for me captures the essence of early spring - a time filled by infinite possibility -- when all of life is crammed into a handful of days as the worms first begin turning the soil.

My home is spare
And well hidden
Dwelling far from
The earth's clamor
I tread on the grass
To make three paths
And gaze upon the clouds
Who are my nearest neighbors

The birds join me in song
There's no else to discuss
Any matters of Dharma
Each day bears the fruit
Of Karma's great tree
How many years I wonder 
Lie within a single spring 


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