my chinese poet friends


i was mountain, i poured rain

1. answering why in the mountains,  li tai bo
2. traveling at night writing my feelings,  du fu
3. thinking of past wanderings, du mu

yet more lazy than spring

4. over the hills there are vines with fruit,  book of songs
5. autumn wind song,  emperor wu
6. singing feelings,  ruan ji
7. lady night song of spring,  anonymous
8. climbing the mountain at serpentine island,  sye ling lun
9. seeing off a friend,  li tai bo
10. south river spring,  du mu
11. on the wall of north tower after snow,  su shr
12. i want to go out but it rains,  lu you

meng hau ran

13. spring sunrise
14. years evening, return to southern mountains
15. to friends at yang jou, written on the tung lu river

li tai bo

16. i love master meng
17. parting at yellow crane tower
18. heng jyang ferry
19. whiling away time
20. early departure white emperor

du fu

21. spring scene
22. spring night vigil, palace chancellery
23. remembering family in the moonlight
24. delightful spring night rain
25. broken line poem
26. pensive autumn

cold water of october

27. army camp in early autumn,  marshall yen wu
28. horse poem,  li he
29. border post song,  wang chang ling
30. wei city song,  li tai bo
31. spring longing,  li tai bo
32. ballad of lung syi,  chen tau

the life we lead is hard

33. lady night song of autumn,  anonymous
34. jade steps grievance,  li tai bo
35. he does not come, yau ywe hwa
36. farewell feast,  princess le chang
37. on hearing a lute,  madame meng
38. hearing the lute of a monk of sheu,  li tai bo
39. lyrics to “tipsy in the flowers’ shade,”  li ching jau
40. lyrics to “spring in wu -ling”,  li ching jau
41. cave fairy song,  su shr
42. traveling palace,  yuan jen
43. jan li ben’s daughter, the mad fox poet, sings,  gau shr

evening thins the clouds

44. inviting young nephew for wine,  po chu yi
45. spring journey to west lake,  du mu
46. tied up at the mouth of the chin-hwai,  du mu
47. night mooring at maple bridge,  jang ji
48. fragrant mountain temple,  wang wei
49. seeing off a brother to the southern islands,  chyen chi
50. looking for master chang,  lyou chang ching
51. drinking wine,  tau chyen
52. living by the river,  lyou dzung ywan
53. river snow,  lyou dzung yuan
54. stuck on lotus mountain in the snow,  lyou chang ching
55. night rain,  po chu yi
56. deer fence,  wang wei
57. seeking a recluse,  jya dau




answering why in the mountains

ask me why i stay in the evergreen forest
and i will smile a soundless ease
up here peach blossoms leave on the water’s flow
up here are no men and heaven near earth

murphy sipping his morning coffee

li tai bo
tang Dynasty
about 730 AD





travelling at night writing my feelings

the long slim grass on shore bends in a light wind
the tall mast towers above me, alone
the stars hang low to touch the broad sweep of shore
the moon jumps through the sky, the mighty river flows
what name have i made for myself as a poet
now i’m too old and sick, worthless i must quit my office
i sit here floating, floating, and to what end
between all the earth and the sky is but this skittering tern

murphy flushed from playing his guitar

du fu
tang dynasty
765 AD





thinking of past wanderings

li po once wrote a poem about water’s temple
old gnarled trees, high mountains all around
tall buildings with covered galleries, the wind

almost drunk, almost sober, i wandered there three days
i was red flowers, white flowers;  i was mountain, i poured rain

murphy patting his head while rubbing his belly

du mu
tang dynasty  830 AD





over the hills there are vines with fruit

over the hills there are vines with fruit
the dew is river of water each night
i see an apple in a tree

how blush of ripeness touches brow
how lucky is this chance we meet
i climb to taste her in her tree

over the hills there are vines with fruit
the dew each night is wet, so wet
i see an apple in a tree

its ripeness blushes wide on brow
how lucky is this chance we meet
i climb to taste her in her tree

murphy settling down to his afternoon guiness

book of songs
jou dynasty
before 500 BC





autumn wind song

the cold wind clear blows
how white the clouds that fly
the ground is brown with fallen leaves
how southern is the vee of geese

how pleasing is the orchid flush
how florid are the olid mums
now i wish someone for me
someone i’ll never forget

how fun it is to cross on ferry
across the wide fen river
to make it out to deep midstream
and crash white waves in cresting

how sharp the song, how deep the drums
how water sings when oars put forth
how pleasant is my current state
though my brow be deep in worry

i’m still young with a young man’s heart
yet how can i escape old age;  yes, how

murphy calmly eying the bar’s aquarium

emperor wu
han dynasty  about 100 BC





singing feelings

at night at home and i can’t sleep
i rise to play my steel guitar
i peek through curtains to glow of moon
a breeze blows freshly through my gown
there a lone goose honks the wild
birds fly around the northern woods
and i, left here too, pace my rooms
with close damp throat, alone and sad

murphy neglecting to answer his telephone

rwan ji

wei dynasty about 250 AD





lady night song of spring

the woods in spring are bursts of flowers
but trilling birds speak to me of grief
the fresh raw wind makes feelings strong
my thin silk skirt blows up and open

murphy in his houri heaven

six dynasties period   300-600 AD





climbing the mountain at serpentine island

what can you say to the sorrow-filled traveler
come to see the sea, to feel dawn breeze
no one has found the end of the waves
no one has touched deep sea’s bottom

then i hear in my mind a song of pleasure
it makes me smile despite sad feelings
now i will roam the jasper green sands of these islands
wander on and on to the peaks of the red dirt mountains

murphy at peace in his special reading chair

sye ling lun
six dynasties period
probably 423 AD





seeing off a friend

the green mountains stretch across to the north of town
the white water creek winds under the eastern wall

when he leaves this place, once he’s gone
he will be blown by the wind ten thousand miles

i see in the clouds how far he must go
i see the setting sun in my friends greeting

i must wave my hand and see him off
now his horse neighs, neighs he’s ready to go

murphy lapsing into his texas drawl

li tai bo
tang dynasty
about 750 AD





south river spring

warblers sing along all the roads for a thousand miles
flowers toss wings of red on their green carpet

the villages are walled  under a mountain or next to the river
wine banners fly high in the full winds of spring

in all these southern dynasties there are these treasures
four hundred eighty temples with their lands

how many of these high buildings have spring so wet
to loom through such mist in the middle of rain

murphy sitting by his window and looking at trees

du mu
tang dynasty  about 830 AD





on the wall of north tower after snow

last evening  the yellow west sky was aglow in the mist
but later in the night after a calm with no wind came the storm

i felt only that my bedclothes had been splattered with water
i did not know the courtyard was heaped up with white grains

in the hour before dawn color came to the curtains of my study
the half moon was at the eaves blanketed with the cold sound of silence

i tried to sweep the north tower, looked up and saw horse-ears mountain
everything was snowed under except the two top tips

murphy aching for the warmth of summer

su shr
northern sung dynasty
1074 AD





i want to go out but it rains

the ocean wind blows rain
i’m stymied from my morning walk

all along the road i see
there is now mud, no longer dust

the flowers hide away, willows droop
spring dawdles along its way

who knew i would like it like this
that i’m still yet more lazy than spring

murphy after a solid three minutes of meditation

lu you
southern sung dynasty
about 1200 AD





spring sunrise

the cold of spring is good for sleep
and dawn of sun slips by unnoticed

the nesting birds are now everywhere
they twitter tweet their happiness

last night came pelting rain and wind
it stopped my sleep and frightened me

all the flowers holding their heads up high
how many are now crushed and fallen

murphy watching the olympics on tv

meng hau ran
tang dynasty  about 725 AD





year’s evening return to southern mountains

i have decided to quit talking
sending thoughts to the northern palace
i shall write no more letters

i have a nice place in the southern mountains
i can now afford to return to that nest
no matter it isn’t as ornate as i live here

the sovereign i must serve finds me wanting
the aura of rectitude is not visited here
i must abandon the thoughts of that road

i have been sick these last few years
and i remember the kindnesses of friends
grew ever more seldom as i grew ill

older now i have other thoughts out front
silver hair spurs my dreams to the real
i am now old, and ever more old

this last summer is the indian’s promise
to last just enough for this rest of the year
to smile the few fair days that might now remain

i  spend this time within my brooding thoughts
i dwell on sorrow in the cold of the night
i have the warmth of covers yet i cannot sleep

the view out my window is growing dark with pines
though resplendent with a glowing moon
i wait out night, stare out window, empty

murphy sipping rotgut with the plebes

meng hauran
tang dynasty
729 AD





to friends at yang jou written on the tung lu river

from the mountains at night come sad cries
the apes are howling out there and the blue water flows
the wind fluffs the leaves on both sides of the river
this boat sails alone in the bright night of moon
i have no fealty for this part of the country
but i remember that last time here with all of you

i allow both trails of all these my tears
i send them to join with the winds as they flee
to the western reach of sea, to all of you far away

murphy sliding on skis with arthritic knees

meng hau ran
tang dynasty  early 730s AD





i love master meng

i love the way of life of master meng
he is famous as a free wind blowing below heaven
in his youth he abandoned the trappings of office
now that he has white hair he lives in the clouds among pine trees
he lies beneath the moon besotted with sagacity
he loses himself amid fields of flowers and serves no lord
how can i aspire to the height of his mountain
down here i can only bow to the whiff of his clear fragrance

murphy rereading his variorum edition of yeats

li tai bo
tang dynasty about 730 AD





parting at yellow crane tower

my old friend,meng hau ran, my master, leaves
he’s off to the east from here at yellow crane tower

the misty rain evaporates to flowers of spring
he goes down the river to yang jou

his lonely sail dims to distant shadow
vanishing in the edge of blue of sky

i can only see that the long river goes on
flows from here still yet, along to heaven’s edge

murphy sustaining the attack as he plays his etude

li tai bo
tang dynasty about 750 AD





heng jiang ferry

spirits of the sea are aroused
evil brings shriek, and wind in swirls

waves beat on heaven’s gate
code magic stone, blow hole in wall

how compare the crashing of these waves
around hang chow when they niagara crash

these splat like a wave of mountains
shedding snow;  they’re here, it comes

murphy walking slow to meet the dawn

li tai bo
tang dynasty about 750 ad





whiling away time

sitting here drinking all this wine,
i didn’t even notice when it got night

i notice now the flowers
they’ve shed upon my clothes

drunk, i rise from torpor, walk
toward the moon glimmering in water

birds have all gone home to roost
looking around, i see lonely people

murphy consulting his thesaurus reluctantly

li tai bo about 750 ad





early departure white emperor

at dawn we leave the city of the white emperor
here we are high, close to clouds pregnant with rain

in only one day we run a thousand miles
and i return to jiang ling,  pardoned and important

in all this way, from both riverbanks
i hear incessant howling of the gibbons

already now the river has carried my light boat
between piled up mountains upon mountains

murphy watching his cholesterol as he should

li tai bo
tang dynasty   757  a.d.





spring scene

though the nation is broken apart
the mountains remain and the rivers still run

the city in spring is deep with grasses
and the trees have filled with leaves

but in feeling this momentous time
there are tears which sprinkle the flowers

this wrong feeling intrudes, is resented
the birds as they twitter shock the heart

for three months now, continually
the beacon fires have been ablaze

i would give almost anything for a letter from home
even ten thousand in gold if i had it

my old white head is scratched and snatched
the hair is wimpy and short, thinner

i go to pin it up with my hat pin
and i can barely manage to make it stick

murphy stranded in queens without the fare home

du fu 757 ad





spring night vigil palace chancellery

i can’t see the flowers by the low wall
the evening has hidden their color

a low whish whush of birds
returning to their righteous roost

i sit and notice the stars’ slow shift
up there above these ten thousand doorways

the moon is beside god’s highest heaven
its brilliance blanches the walls i touch

i will not lie down and be sleeping on duty
i must be awake for emperor’s song

i must be at one with the wind
the sound must be for the marriage of heavens

tomorrow at the first ray of sun
i have this sealed document to present

several times already i whispered to the night
how goes the clock, how goes the clock

murphy schlepping for everyone else

du fu
tang dynasty 758 ad





remembering family in the moon light

the guard drums throb through the night
no one can travel more, we’re lucky we’re here

on the borderlands with an autumn moon
and the only friend heard is a lonely wild goose

the dew of this night glows bright
white in its crustal iciness

so bright the moon as in my youth
when it rose above where i was born

i remember all my younger brothers
they are scattered by these pains

i have no family left to counsel
no one to ask if they  live, or die

i send letters to where they might be
i know my words still can’t reach them

the only thing i might add
there is no end to the fighting

murphy sipping his cool plum wine

du fu
tang dynasty 759 ad





delightful spring night rain

the good rain comes in its good time
especially spring when all is born
borne on the wind it soaks through the night
in a steady wet that comes without sound

the country lanes wander under dark water clouds
the boats on the river cover their bright fires
in fresh morning light the puddles are red
and flowers flourish in old cheng du

murphy knowing that summer comes next

du fu
tang dynasty about 764 ad




broken line poem

river is still yet blue again
birds in the air flash a bit more white
mountains once again have turned toward green
flowers i love will soon catch fire

now i see that yet one more spring
will again happen, and pass
when  will i ever get to see my old home
what year will it be when i finally return

murphy having been too long in the front lines

du fu
tang dynasty about 764 ad





pensive autumn

the freezing glare of dew
withers the leaves of the maples

here in witch gorge, below witch mountain
it is dark, thick air, forlorn

the waters of the river splash around
waves beating against waves
they seem to leap toward sky

above the mountains loom black clouds
that reach down to darken earth

the clumped chrysanthemums open again
oozing the tears of yesterdays

once moored, my lonely boat holds fast
tied to the heart like this old garden

we are cold here and need new clothes
quickly flash our scissors and tape

here we are in white emperor city
spending evenings softening our new rough silks

murphy sitting quietly as is his wont

du fu
tang dynasty 766 ad





army camp in early autumn

it was just last night
a cold north wind
blew into china
blew through her mountain passes

a northern cloud
lay on the borderland
as bright harvest moon
brightened the western mountains

i came to call to arms
for all our brave young leaders
to stand and face and kill
to stand against those animals

we must annihilate them
let not one get back
to that northern desert
let not a single horse return

murphy meandering in his pet swamp

marshall yan wu
tang dynasty possibly 764 ad





horse poem

i am the great desert
where the sands flow like dry snow

i gallop beneath yen mountain
where moon seems to hook the sky

when will gold of the sun
put reins to guide this head of mine

running swift and sure i glow
in clear, cool air of autumn

murphy imagining a totem animal

li he
tang dynasty about 810 ad





border post song

we pause, the horse and i, to drink
river holds cold water of october

wind knifes through my coat
water chills and fills our guts

bank is broad stretch of level sand
sun is down but not yet sunk

in growing dark we plod on
see in the gloaming lights of lin tan

for the past few days we fought the enemy
battles running along the shadow of the long wall

we all feel our spirits grow in our breasts
our will to win is high, prevails

this yellow dust here is as it was there
the not long ago of the blood and the noise

white bones lie scattered, disordered
among the tumbleweed and squat mesquite

murphy reading the reports of his commanders

wang chang ling
tang dynasty about 750 ad





wei city song

it’s a typical wei city morning
the dust knocked down by morning rain

near the local inn all is green
the nascent green of willows

i ask again, and then once more
just one cup, empty one cup of wine

when you get out to yang pass
you’ll have no old friends out there

li tao bo
tang dynasty about 740 ad





spring longing

when northern grasses shine like emerald beads
these western mulberries droop full green

thinking if i will ever return to you
brings toss and turn, gut wrench of thought

i know you don’t feel this stirring wind of spring
how can it from there blow my bed’s silk gauze

murphy working slowly up the ladder

li tai bo
tang dynasty about 740 ad





ballad of long si

we were sworn in as warriors
to sweep away all enemies
and not to worry about ourselves

we were five thousand strong
our uniforms lined with marten fur
with brocade vests, all ground into frontier dust

pitiable that our bones were  resting
in the sandy banks of the spring river
that is never fixed but always changes

the only part of us still left
are in the bedroom dreams
of those we left behind

murphy disdaining to kill, merely counting coup

chen tau
tang dynasty mid 800’s





lady night song of autumn

she stands by the open window
the clear skies of autumn glow
effulgent is the moon

she walks slowly back across the room
dowses candle with a practiced hand
slither sound is silk, drops her skirt

there is an inwardness to her smile
the curtains drawn in the eyes
from what lies deep, deep within

she lies back and reaches up toward me
her body’s breath is orchid on the wind

murphy saying good night to his lady fair

six dynasties period 300-600 ad





jade steps grievance

standing outside on the steps of jade
a sparkling dew is formed

the night is long, grows colder
gauze silk stockings hold nothing out

going inside she lowers her blinds
lowers slow their water essence

the glittering crystals become jewels
splinters of the autumn moon

murphy trimming the wick on the kerosene lantern

li tai bo
tang dynasty about 740 ad





he does not come

stars, the sun’s tears flung against the void
inside, the candles held by silver
empty wine cups, and i stand out here waiting

i open the gate and wander out for a while
i open the gate and stand again within the pale
dawn is about to happen and he’s not here

the moon falls away behind the mountain
the stars disappear within the glow
and he finally doesn’t come

the mist blows the willow’s leaves
they billow in soft drumbeats
and a magpie flies away

murphy about to be four cubed

yau ywe hwa
tang dynasty 600-900 ad





farewell feast

how can this day go right
my fears are too real to be held

my new husband who took me away
faces the old whom i still love

i want to laugh and break down crying
both, but i can do nothing

only now do i truly think true
that the life we lead is hard

murphy inspecting the floor for scratches

princess le chang
late six dynasties period about 590 ad





on hearing a lute

jade fingers pluck vermillion strings
the tone grinding deep then clear
i know the fingers of the syang river consorts
the ones who tell how hard life can be

first thunder roars a bluster
the cold of wind hard strong
after splatters soft of evening
a rain that showers long

near one hears a cataract
from mountain just greening
far one hears the black crane
swooping from deep blue sky

night is full and dark, the song ends
i will not last long in this despair
the cold of morning to come chills the orchids
the courtyard moon breathes a frost of air

murphy setting table for the feast

madame meng, nee swun
tang dynasty 600-900 ad





hearing the lute of a monk of shu

i once heard a monk of shu
play the lute called green brocade

it was late in the afternoon
e mei peak glowed in the dusk

when he began to move his hands
i heard the murmurs of all the pines

from here to there ten thousand valleys
whispering through the there i was

my roving mind was flowing waters
that rang with bells of splintering frost

i did not notice when it got dark
the evening in fall brings an always dark

murphy gettin’ jiggy with the beat

li tai bo
tang dynasty about 725 ad





lyrics to “tipsy in the flowers’ shade”

the earth this day is thin with mist
under clouds lowering and thick
this sad and endless day

i’ve buried the incense smells
the curling wisps crawl out their metal home
the turtle censor made of gold

the town is filled with people
harvest moon gathering here again

last night deep in the dark
the cold frost reached my pillows
the thin silk curtains of my bed

today grows dim as i sing my wine
and sit by the eastern fence
the yellow of dusk and after

there is a secret fragrence
seeping out through my sleeves

and don’t believe for an instant
this spirit is not melting down

the curtains undulate as do my bones
this old flower with its withered petals

murphy breaking off his simultaneous translation

poetess li ching jau
southern sung about 1125 ad




lyrics to “spring in wu ling”

the wind has grown still
late spring air still smells of dust
and the flowers just now withering
still make your presence known

this day, this evening
i tiredly comb my hair

i have your things
i don’t have you
so all things end

and whatever i say
will only bring tears
and i can’t stop their flow

there are those who say
our special place
on the double creek lake
is still lovely late in spring

but if my canoe
were to venture there
i only fear its lightness
couldn’t carry the load

murphy making his to-do list for tomorrow

poetess li ching jau
southern sung period 1135 ad





cave fairy song

white flesh, jade bones
they both are pure and cool
no bead of sweat spoils the skin

the wind freshens over the water palace
its subtle flavor stirs the room
opens the embroidered curtains

bright sliver of the moon glints
peeks straight down to her
this person who cannot sleep

she leans across her pillow
her hairpin knocked sideways
the hair at her temples tousled

she gets up slowly and walks
reaches with her pale white hand

there are no sounds from the courtyards
no doors opening or closing
time is felt as the milky way’s flow

then a question thought
how late are we into the night
it is between eleven and one
for the jade cord stars dip toward horizon

the moonlight begins to dim
she counts on her fingers how long
how long til the west wind comes

how long yet for the flowing of her years
those that the nights have yet to swallow

murphy freshly bathed and shaved

su shr
sung dynasty 1082 ad





traveling palace

here i sit in the decayed splendor
a traveling palace long since abandoned
it is desolate, it is old

i walk to watch the flowers
they too are lonely in their glory
they are intensely red

i notice the white hairs of the women
those left behind with the dust
nowhere else to pledge their feet

these women are easy in their gait
they sigh and sit, tell their tales
and always about sywan dzung, now gone

murphy throwing his tarp over a tallish shrub

yuan jen
tang dynasty about 800 ad





jang li ben’s daughter, the mad fox poet, sings

her hair is in its full crowned glory
her broad sleeves dress for the chu palace

alone she paces her courtyard
seeking the coolness of the night

on the steps she takes her jade hairpin
rhythmically taps a bamboo tree

her voice rings clear in only one song
the moon shine is crisp like the frost

murphy staying home from the parade

gau shr
tang dynasty about 750 ad





inviting young nephew for wine

nephew, i have some fresh new wine
it has the green ant scum, unfiltered

we have a little fire stove in the corner
it’s one made from the reddish clay

it’s getting darker, toward evening
the sky is pregnant with snow

take time for one small, hot drink
just one cup with me tonight

murphy watching the warblers passing through to the south

bai ju yi
tank dynasty 817 ad






spring journey to west lake

the temple of lonely mountain is north
the graceful jya pavilion west

i notice the water calms
then a wet scurry of little cloud feet

the early warblers are here and there
they squabble for space in the warm trees

the swallows over there are building a nest
they swoop to peck the spring mud

the disordered flowers confuse my eye
then slowly make the case for natural

the grass so new it barely covers ground
not deep enough yet for a horse’s hooves

i most admire this eastern side of the lake
and i can never get here too often

i sit in the fresh green willow’s shade
snug on this bank of white sand

murphy finishing another book of unpublished poetry

du mu
tang dynasty about 830 ad





tied up at the mouth of the chin hwai

smoke of mist cradles the cold water
light of moon cradles the sand

this damp night we are moored at chin hwai
snug and silent near the house of wine

the singing girls are singing “courtyard flower”
they are oblivious to our nation ruined

it was so when the last emperor of the chen
hiding from his foes called for song

murphy staring out the window at the wind swept trees

du mu
tang dynasty about 830 ad





night mooring at maple bridge

moon slips over the mountains
cawing crow announces night
chilling frost engulfs the sky

along the river rustle maple leaves
the fires for all the fish bob way off there
i watch in sorrow as i drowse

i’m just outside soo chow
the city walls on the near side
the temple on cold mountain way off there

time is stiff and still at midnight bell
the round of sound pealing reaches boat
the deck on which this traveler frets

murphy worrying a score in the practice of learning it

jang ji
tang dynasty about 750 ad





fragrant mountain temple

i don’t know the way
to fragrant mountain top

for several miles now
i’ve walked in cloudy mist

the path before me is alone
i have only the old trees for comfort

from deeper into the mountains
comes clear a ringing bell

then spring sound is swallowed
by all the towering rocks

a glimmer of sun seems chilled
by the sullen green of the pines

the evening thins the clouds
i reach a bend in stream, an empty poool

the settled fullness is accepted
and water stills the fevered mind

murphy waiting for the barmaid while she is reprimanded

wang wei
tang dynasty about 750 ad





seeing off a brother to the southern islands

so you came to the middle kingdom
in your search for belief

the path when it comes
shapes a floating dream

heaven above your soaring senses
far away the blue, blue sea

one leaves the world in clicks
the boat of buddha always light

fish dragons below all else
listen to chants ,  sanskrit sound

then love comes to cherish
point of light burns the eye

ten thousand miles but a step
when depth of  heart is stirred, made bright

murphy answering an old shaman’s heart felt question

chyen chi
tang dynasty about 750 ad





looking for master chang

the whole path up the mountain
creek, walk, creek, walk

moss covers everything
many clogs have left their even marks

there comes a break in the trees
a small island open to the sky

there is a white cloud
resting above in quiet

the herbs are flower smells
that block the unused gate

behind a damp of rain still clings
the pines are dark, dark green

i have followed up the mountain
and reached pure water’s source

the flowers by the water
have flounced their zen of calm

as i face their blatancy of self
i can almost forget i talk with words

murphy sitting up late with an old sick cat

lou chang ching
tang dynasty about 750 ad





drinking wine

build your house in the middle of people
but don’t listen to the sound of traffic
just try to imagine how to do this
let your heart go to somewhere out of the way
to pick chrysanthemums in a small garden
and look up over everything else to mountains
you can see sun’s glorious leaving
you can see birds fly home to roost
then you can know that to hear anything
you want to hear,  forget the words

murphy sitting at the kitchen table

tau chien
six dynasties period
about 400 AD





living by the river

i have labored too long in service
my habit neat, my seal-cord tied

how fortunate to have been banished here
sent out to the southern tribes

now i walk fields slowly in this neighborhood
the smallish local farms which cluster here

i’m different in an exact way
like a traveler from the mountains

the plow of morning cuts the dewy grass
the oar at night catches rock in stream

meeting noone as i amble freely
i sing the anthem of the blue south sky

murphy wondering why myth stories have such meanings

lyou dzung ywan
tang dynasty about 805 ad





river snow

there is no rustle in these woods
for many miles they’ve been still

all the beaten paths show nothing
wind and storm, but no tracks

there is a small old boat on the river
reed cloak, bamboo hat, an old man

the snow falls lightly on the water
alone with the fish out in the cold

murphy thinking in diminished ninths

lyuo dzung-ywan
tang dynasty about 810 ad





stuck on lotus mountain in the snow

it is the dark of early evening
dark green of mountain in the distance

the sky is cold and blows
the hut is thatched and poor

from within the brushwood gate
a barking dog alerts the world

out from the wind and snow
someone struggles home this night

murphy rushing fro and to

lou changching
tang dynasty about 750 ad





night rain

i hear the first cricket
tonight he chirps
there he is again
now quiet

the lamp is dying
there it goes down
there almost gone
it flares

i look out the window
i see the dark
i smell the rain
it is wet

now i know the sound
banana leaves
the rain drips down

murphy recalling a pet cat who died when he was young

bai ju-yi
tang dynasty about 800 ad





deer fence

i look up an empty mountain
there is nobody up there

the only thing i hear
the people sound behind me

the sun returns its angle
it looks again into the forest

there the green moss
the light shines its exact green

murphy watching the erection of a skyscraper

wang wei
tang dynasty about 700 ad





seeking a recluse

up in the dark of the pines
i asked the young man where the master was

he’s out picking medicine plants
he’s gone, he’s not here right now

the only thing he could say was
he’s in these mountains here

probably up in the clouds
i don’t know where he goes

murphy looking out the window on the 25th floor

jya dau
tang dynasty  about 800 ad




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *