Thursday Poem

Three Cold Mountain Poems


Thirty years in this world
I wandered ten thousand miles,
By rivers, buried deep in grass,
In borderlands, where red dust flies.
Tasted drugs, still not Immortal,
Read books, wrote histories.
Now I’m back at Cold Mountain,
Head in the stream, cleanse my ears.


I travelled to Cold Mountain:
Stayed here for thirty years.
Yesterday looked for family and friends.
More than half had gone to Yellow Springs.
Slow-burning, life dies like a flame,
Never resting, passes like a river.
Today I face my lone shadow.
Suddenly, the tears flow down.


Han-shan has his critics too:
‘Your poems, there’s nothing in them!’
I think of men of ancient times,
Poor, humble, but not ashamed.
Let him laugh at me and say:
‘It’s all foolishness, your work!’
Let him go on as he is,
All his life lost making money.

by Han Shan