Chinese Poetry, Poetry

Look Beyond the Town Gate at the Mounds Below the Pines

Cold Mountain (Han Shan) was a Chinese poet and hermit who wrote his poetry 1,200 years ago on the rocks, trees and temple walls of the Tientai Mountains where he lived. He was a Taoist and a Buddhist and though he was never critically acclaimed as a great poet, he's become a much loved persona… Continue reading Look Beyond the Town Gate at the Mounds Below the Pines

Chinese Poetry, Poetry

Occasional Poem on an Autumn Day

Ch'eng Hao was one of the leading poets and teachers of neo-Confucianism in China in the 11th century and this poem reflects his philosophy that all things are an inextricable part of the Tao, which is also to say the mind.    When I'm at peace, I let everything go I wake by the east… Continue reading Occasional Poem on an Autumn Day

American Poetry, Poetry

William Stafford’s Looking Across the River

Kansas-born poet William Stafford's verses are simple, direct moments of contemplation that take their cue from nature and marvel at mystery. A pacifist and a conscientious objector to the Second World War, Stafford worked in outdoor work camps during the war before later moving to Oregon and falling under the spell of the American West.… Continue reading William Stafford’s Looking Across the River

Poetry, Sufi Poetry

Rumi’s Guest House

Jelalludin Rumi was a Sufi mystic who lived in the thirteenth century and was a contemporary of the Zen master Dogen. Rumi's poetry transcends cultural and religious borders to appeal to a vast readership, mainly on account of its humanity and sincere ecstatic engagement with life's questions. In this poem, The Guest House, Rumi was… Continue reading Rumi’s Guest House

Japanese Poetry, Poetry

Chiyono’s Enlightenment Poem

Adachi Chiyono (also known as Mugai Nyodai) was the daughter of a samurai warrior in the 13th century who became the first woman - and mother - to found and head a Zen monastery in Japan. Her enlightenment poem invokes the catastrophe of a broken bucket; with the vessel ruptured, there is no place to… Continue reading Chiyono’s Enlightenment Poem