After trying many years

After trying many years, and then
near death, the able man may know
an image living in the alpine stone.
If at all, the high and new come slowly,
and, for us, they do not last so long.
Oh my beloved! nature’s like that too,
who tried for beauty times untold
until she triumphed, and made you.
Yet by that token she is old
and almost at the end of her career.
So terror, which is always near
to beauty, feeds desire strange food.
My mind falls silent and no longer says
if joy or pain be more: the sight
of you calls forth the End of Days,
yet gives me great delight.

Michaelangelo

Songs of Life and Hope

Brother,you who have the light, tell me mine.
I am like a blind man. I go without direction and fumble along.
I go under tempests and storms,
blind with fantasy and crazy with harmony.

That is my malady. Dreaming. Poetry
is the iron jacket with a thousand bloody points
I wear upon my soul. The bloodstained thorns
spill the drops of my melancholy. 

And so I go, blind and crazy, through this bitter world;
at times it seems to me that the path is very long,
and at times that it’s very short…

And in this back-and-forth between eagerness and agony, 
I am full of woes I can hardly bear.
Don’t you hear the drops of my melancholy falling?

Ruben Dario

One Vision

Day and night, no difference. 
The sun *is* the moon: An amalgam. 
Their gold and silver melt together.

This is the season when 
the dead branch and the green branch 
are the same branch.

Nightmares fill with light like a holiday.
Humans and angels speak one language.
The elusive ones finally meet.

Good and evil, dead and alive,
everything blooms
from one natural stem.

You know this already, I’ll stop.
Any direction you turn
it’s one vision.


Rumi

Image: Cathy McClelland

If

If you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;


If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!


Rudyard Kipling

East and West

East of me, the old lady

Got rich three or four years ago.

Used to be poorer than me, 

Now she laughs that I don’t have money.

She laughs that I’ve fallen behind.

I laugh that she’s gotten ahead.

Both of us laughing, no stopping us.

East, and West.
Han Shan

Form the Elixir

If you don’t know essence and don’t know life, 

You split the creative and receptive into two paths.

But the day you join them together to form the elixir, 

You fall drunken into the jug yet have no need of support.
Tang Guangzhen

960-1278 C. E.

Lines for a Taoist Adept

My friend lives high on East Mountain. 

His nature is to love the hills and gorges. 
In green spring he sleeps in empty woodland, 
Still there when the noon sun brightens. 
Pine-tree winds to dust his hair. 
Rock-filled streams to cleanse his senses. 
Free of all sound and stress, 
Resting on a wedge of cloud and mist.

Li Po

Grab the Golden Wave

The first crescent of the moon

Shows its form like a beauty’s brow:

Paired with the light of the sun,

Its clear purity abounds.

If you want to gain productive energy

And conjeal the jade broth,

First seek the wax and wane,

Grab the golden wave.
Cui Shaoxuan