To Be Great

To be great, be whole;

Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you.

Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you do.
So, in each lake, the moon shines with splendor
Because it blooms up above.

Fernando Pessoa

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In Climbing on Nanjing mountain to the Terrace of Phoenixes

Phoenixes that played here once, so that the place was named for them, 
Have abandoned it now to this desolate river; 
The paths of Wu Palace are crooked with weeds; 
The garments of Qin are ancient dust. 
…Like this green horizon halving the Three Peaks, 
Like this Island of White Egrets dividing the river, 
A cloud has arisen between the Light of Heaven and me, 
To hide his city from my melancholy heart.

Li Bai

The Hostile Sun

High summer’s tyranny has loosed its hold;

From their hot zenith my desires descend

To genial afternoon. Though I grow old,

Autumnal ripeness comes before the cold.

The hostile sun, with whom I would contend,

Tempers his lustful fire, and as a friend

Inaugurates my evening years of gold.

I, who could not give up the world, go free:

This irreligious world renounces me.

Ignored in peace and decently neglected

Till I am safely dead, I lay no claim

To riches, privilege, prestige, degree,

Nor crave the flaring fraudulence of fame,

But work unknown, my only wealth the Name.
Harold Stewart

The Faithful will say

The faithful will say on the last day, “O King!

Was not Hell on the route all of us travelled?

Did not faithful as well as infidels pass through it?

Yet on our way we perceived not the smoke of the fire;

Nay, it seemed Paradise and the mansion of the blessed.”

Then the King will answer, “That green garden,

As it appeared to you on your passage through it,

Was indeed Hell and the place of dread torment;

Yet for you it became a garden green with trees.

Since you have laboured to make hellish lusts,

And the fire of pride that courts destruction,-

To make these, I say, pure and clean,-

And, to please God, have quenched those fires,

So that the fire of lust, that erst breathed flame,

Has become a holy garden and a guiding light,-

Since you have turned the fire of wrath to meekness,

And the darkness of ignorance to shining knowledge,

Since you have turned the fire of greed into bounty,

And the vile thorns of malice into a rose-garden;

Since you have quenched all these fires of your own

For my sake, so that those poisons are now pure sweets;-

Since you have made fiery lust as a verdant garden,

And have sowed therein the seed of fidelity,

So that nightingales of prayer and praise

Ever warble sweetly around this garden;-

Since you have responded to the call of God,

And drawn water out of the hell of lust,-

For this cause my hell also, for your behoof,

Becomes a verdant garden and yields leaves and fruit.”
Rumi

Luna

Her antiquity in preceding and surviving succeeding tellurian generations: her nocturnal predominance: her satellitic dependence: her luminary reflection: her constancy under all her phases, rising and setting by her appointed times, waxing and waning: the forced invariability of her aspect: her indeterminate response to inaffirmative interrogation: her potency over effluent and refluent waters: her power to enamour, to mortify, to invest with beauty, to render insane, to incite to and aid delinquency: the tranquil inscrutability of her visage: the terribility of her isolated dominant resplendent propinquity: her omens of tempest and of calm: the stimulation of her light, her motion and her presence: the admonition of her craters, her arid seas, her silence: her splendour, when visible: her attraction, when invisible.

James Joyce

Extract from, ‘Ulysses’.

Stone Gate Mountains highest peak

At dawn, staff in hand, I climb the crags,
and by dusk settle among the mountains.
Scarcely a peak rises as high as this hut
facing crags and overlooking winding streams.
Forests stretch before the mountain’s open gate
boulders heaped round its very steps.
Mountains crowd around, blocking out roads.
Trails wander into bamboo thickets.
Visitors lose their way on coming up
or forget the paths leading home when they descend.
Raging torrents rush through the dusk,
Monkeys howl throughout the night.
Deep in meditation I hold the inner pattern,
nurturing the Way, never severing from it.
My heart is one with the autumn trees,
My eyes delight in the flowering of spring.
I inhabit the constant and await my end,
Content to dwell in peace, accepting the flux of things.
I only regret that there is no kindred spirit here
to climb this ladder of sky and clouds with me.

Hsieh Ling-yun

The Lake of Beauty

Let your mind be quiet, realising the beauty of the world, and the immense the boundless treasures that it holds in store.

All that you have within you, all that your heart desires, all that your Nature so specially fits for you- that or the counterpart of it waits for you embedded in the great Whole, for you. It will surely come to you.

Yet equally surely not one moment before its appointed time will it come. All your crying and fever and reaching out of hands will make no difference.

Therefore do not begin that game at all.

Do not recklessly spill the waters of your mind in this direction and in that, lest you become like a spring lost and dissipated in the desert.

But draw them together into a little compass, and hold them still, so still.

And let them become clear, so clear- so limpid, so mirror-like;

At last the mountains and the sky shall glass themselves in peaceful beauty.

And the antelope shall descend to drink, and to gaze at his reflected image, and the lion to quench his thirst,

And Love himself shall come and bend over, and catch his own likeness in you.

Edward Carpenter

Endless Events

I gaze on myself in the stream’s emerald flow
or sit on a boulder by a cliff,
My mind a lonely cloud leans on nothing
and needs nothing from the world and its endless events.

Han Shan