Meng Hao-jan

Weeping for Meng Haoran
Li Po

I look for my old friend. He is nowhere.
l see only the Han River flowing daily into the east.
I might ask for the old man of Xiangyang
but among rivers and mountains his Caizhou island
is today desolate.

Tony Barnstone

about Meng Hao-jan - David Hinton
The first full flowering of Chinese poetry occurred in the illustrious T’ang Dynasty, and at the beginning of this renaissance stands Meng Hao-jan (689-740 C.E.), esteemed elder to a long line of China’s greatest poets: Wang Wei, Li Po, Tu Fu, Po Chü-i. Deeply influenced by Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism, Meng was the first to make poetry from the Ch’an insight that deep understanding lies beyond words. The result was a strikingly distilled language that opened new inner depths, non-verbal insights, and outright enigma. This made Meng Hao-jan China’s first master of the short imagistic landscape poem that came to typify ancient Chinese poetry. [source]

Master I’s Chamber in the Ta-yü Temple

I-kung’s place to meditiate:
this hut, in empty grove.

Outside the door, a pretty peak.
Beyond the stairs, deep valleys.

Sunset confused in footprints of the rain.
Blue of the void in the shade of the court.

Look, and see: the lotus blossom’s purity.
Know, thus: nothing tainted that man’s heart.

J.P. Seaton

Climbing Long-View Mountain’s Highest Peak

Rivers and mountains beyond the form seen:
Hsiang-yang’s beauty brings them in reach,

and Long-View has the highest peak around.
Somehow I’d never climbed its cragged heights,

its rocky cliffs like walls hacked and scraped
and towering over mountains crowded near,

but today, skies so bright and clear, I set out.
Soon the far end of sight’s all boundless away,

Cloud-Dream southlands a trifle in the palm,
Warrior-Knoll lost in that realm of blossoms.

And back on my horse, riding home at dusk,
a vine-sifted moon keeps the stream lit deep.

David Hinton

Spring Dawn

Sleeping in spring, I don’t feel the dawn
though everywhere birds are singing.
Last night I heard sounds, blowing, raining.
How many flowers have fallen down?


Tony Barnstone