Posts Tagged ‘Li Ho’

It’s the end of June. ybonesy and I will be traveling over the next two weeks. Different times and separate destinations. Expect slight delays, possible blasts of summer rain, seeds of a sunset poppy, the beat of a gyrfalcon.

Tonight I feel like poetry. Away from home, there is ground in the simple. A blinding light pours through the picture window. And I am not alone.

Fourth Moon (June)
by Li Ho

Cool dawns and dusks
lots of shade
a thousand emerald mountains
rising toward the clouds

a fragrant rain
patters through green foliage
thick leaves and blossoms
shine behind gates
water in the pools
quivers with green ripples

in heavy summer
blossoms expect to fall
fading red flowers
glowing in light and shade.

…every day he would go out riding on a donkey….with a tapestry bag. As he wandered through the countryside, he would compose poems and toss them into the bag. At home in the evening, he would dump out his day’s work and finish the poems, allegedly provoking his mother’s comment: “My son will not stop until he has vomited out his heart.”

-from 12 Poems on the Months by Li Ho (791-817)
Five Tang Poets, Translated and introduced by David Young
Oberlin College Press, 1990

-related to these two posts:  

Among Ruins – Li Ho (791-817)
Tu Mu on Li Ho, 15 years after his death

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

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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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