Archive for January 7th, 2007

Li Ho (791-817) was a T’ang poet who, according to Five T’ang Poets, Translated by David Young, “….has a reputation as a gaunt and ghostly enigma, summoned on his deathbed by a heavenly messenger riding a red dragon. A common phrase for him is Kuei-ts’ai: demon talented. And his literary influences can be found among many subsequent writers.

One of them, Tu Mu, a 9th Century poet, was asked some 15 years after Li Ho’s death to write a preface to his collected poems. He tells us that he fudged and evaded the assignment, out of a sense of inadequacy. When he settled down to it, though, his enthusiasm took over….”


Here is Tu Mu’s preface. Steal a line and run. Let your mind go wild.

Clouds and mist, mingling softly, cannot describe his manner; endless stretches of water cannot describe his feelings; the green of spring cannot describe his warmth; the clarity of autumn cannot describe his style; a mast in the wind, a horse in battle cannot describe his courage; earthenware coffins and engraved tripods cannot describe his antiquity; flowers in season and beautiful women cannot describe his intensity; fallen kingdoms and ruined palaces, withered grasses and gravemounds, cannot describe his resentment and sorrow; whales yawning, turtles dancing, oxghosts and snake spirits cannot describe his unreality, wildness, extravagance, and illusion.

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

-related to post, Among Ruins – Li Ho (791-817)

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Daylight burns out
beyond the western peaks

blue moonlit clouds
bloom in the night sky

the past, the present
where is the end of it?

the wind has blown away
a thousand years

sands in the ocean
have turned to stone

fish blow bubbles
where the emperor built
his ruined bridge

to have come all this way
to find nothing but distance

and the bronze columns of the gods
long since vanished

Sunday, January 7, 2007

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I woke up writing haiku in my mind. Chaco, the black Siamese, could not sleep. And kept rattling the door. So I couldn’t sleep. The wind howled. The chimes rang. It reminded me of writing retreats in the Zendo. I’ll be back again in February. Writing haiku.

I stared at the ceiling. I composed haiku in my dream. I have long forgotten the lines. And so I start over.

We are all starting over in some form. New beginnings. Thank god. New beginnings teach me to love change. I used to fear change. But now I understand.

Without it, I don’t get the chance to start again.


the black pond melts clear
snow drifts against the window
and floats into cracks

the rope swing dangles
under the leafless white oak
breathless in the cold

water pools, leaves blow
chimes stir, January winds
blast hard from the North

chimney smoke waffles
off the neighbor’s snowy roof
seamless resistance

gnarled knot in the oak
I turn my head from the wind
dead leaf clings to life

weathered bat house nailed
into bark near a hollow
filled with emptiness

I rest in a thought
spring hides around the corner
buds sigh in relief

ancient potted soil
holds gangly roots of bamboo
flecks of snow swirl by

tawny rabbit tufts
snatch hare tracks from crusted snow
my gaze blazes trail

chocolate red bells
in the tray on the table
January 7

green leaf, dirty pane
stares at the naked buckthorn
steamy dimpled cheeks

no one understands
the winter frosted writer
curled up on the bed

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

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