As Long As I Live
As long as I live I will eat and drink
The grief of loving You.
I will never give it up to anyone
Even when I am dead.
At the Resurrection
I will walk forward with this violent thirst
Still storming my head. – Ayn al-Qozat Hamadani
A belated entry. I hope this finds you all well, with the New Year peering over thy shoulder. Lovely time last night at friends.
We are awaiting news on my sister in law Claudia, who had an aneurysm Monday evening. She is being removed from the ventilator today. Our thoughts are with her, and with my brother Chris. I was best man at their wedding, 11 years ago next Saturday the 6th. Life takes such odd turns.
On The Menu:
Wishery (Disney Remix)
Bloom (Disney Remix)
Art: Harold Gaze
Wishery (Disney Remix)
“The name, given to the month of ‘January’, is derived from the ancient Roman name ‘Janus’ who presided over the gate to the new year. He was revered as the ‘God of Gateways’, ‘of Doorways’ and ‘of the Journey.’ Janus protected the ‘Gate of Heaven’, known as the ‘Lord of Beginnings’, is associated with the ‘Goddess Juno-Janus’, and often symbolized by an image of a face that looks forwards and backwards at the same time. This symbolism can easily be associated with the month known by many as the start of a new year which brings new opportunities. We cast out the old and welcome in the new. It is the time when many reflect on events of the previous year and often resolve to redress or improve some aspect of daily life or personal philosophy.”
– Mysitcal World Wide Web
“January is here, with eyes that keenly glow,
A frost-mailed warrior
striding a shadowy steed of snow.”
– Edgar Fawcett
“Nature has undoubtedly mastered the art of winter gardening and even the most experienced gardener can learn from the unrestrained beauty around them.”
– Vincent A. Simeone
“Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.”
– Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
“The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer. Minute by minute they lengthen out. It takes some weeks before we become aware of the change. It is imperceptible even as the growth of a child, as you watch it day by day, until the moment comes when with a start of delighted surprise we realize that we can stay out of doors in a
twilight lasting for another quarter of a precious hour.”
– Vita Sackville-West
“January is the quietest month in the garden. … But just because it looks quiet doesn’t mean that nothing is happening. The soil, open to the sky, absorbs the pure rainfall while microorganisms convert tilled-under fodder into usable nutrients for the next crop of plants. The feasting earthworms tunnel along, aerating the soil and preparing it to welcome the seeds and bare roots to come.”
– Rosalie Muller Wright, Editor of Sunset Magazine, 1/99
“There are two seasonal diversions that can ease the bite of any winter. One is the January thaw. The other is the seed catalogues.”
– Hal Borland
“Here’s to thee, old apple tree
Whence thou mayest bud
Whence thou mayest blow
Whence thou mayest bear apples enow.”
– Wassailing Songs, England, January 5th
“In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1st to be the beginning of the new year. During the Middle Ages, the Church remained opposed to celebrating New Year’s Day. January 1st has been celebrated as a holiday by Western nations for only about the past 400 years.”
– New Year’s Day
“You’d be so lean, that blast of January
Would blow you through and through. Now, my fair’st friend,
I would I had some flowers o’ the spring that might
Become your time of day.”
– William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale, Act IV Scene 4
“The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.
The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.
Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing dear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.”
– Emily Bronte, Spellbound
THE COLD MOUNTAIN POEMS, tr. Gary Snyder
The path to Han-shan’s place is laughable,
A path, but no sign of cart or horse.
Converging gorges – hard to trace their twists
Jumbled cliffs – unbelievably rugged.
A thousand grasses bend with dew,
A hill of pines hums in the wind.
And now I’ve lost the shortcut home,
Body asking shadow, how do you keep up?
In a tangle of cliffs, I chose a place –
Bird paths, but no trails for me.
What’s beyond the yard?
White clouds clinging to vague rocks.
Now I’ve lived here – how many years –
Again and again, spring and winter pass.
Go tell families with silverware and cars
“What’s the use of all that noise and money?”
In the mountains it’s cold.
Always been cold, not just this year.
Jagged scarps forever snowed in
Woods in the dark ravines spitting mist.
Grass is still sprouting at the end of June,
Leaves begin to fall in early August.
And here I am, high on mountains,
Peering and peering, but I can’t even see the sky.
I spur my horse through the wrecked town,
The wrecked town sinks my spirit.
High, low, old parapet walls
Big, small, the aging tombs.
I waggle my shadow, all alone;
Not even the crack of a shrinking coffin is heard.
I pity all those ordinary bones,
In the books of the Immortals they are nameless.
I wanted a good place to settle:
Cold Mountain would be safe.
Light wind in a hidden pine –
Listen close – the sound gets better.
Under it a gray haired man
Mumbles along reading Huang and Lao.
For ten years I havn’t gone back home
I’ve even forgotten the way by which I came.
Men ask the way to Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain: there’s no through trail.
In summer, ice doesn’t melt
The rising sun blurs in swirling fog.
How did I make it?
My heart’s not the same as yours.
If your heart was like mine
You’d get it and be right here.
I settled at Cold Mountain long ago,
Already it seems like years and years.
Freely drifting, I prowl the woods and streams
And linger watching things themselves.
Men don’t get this far into the mountains,
White clouds gather and billow.
Thin grass does for a mattress,
The blue sky makes a good quilt.
Happy with a stone under head
Let heaven and earth go about their changes.
Clambering up the Cold Mountain path,
The Cold Mountain trail goes on and on:
The long gorge choked with scree and boulders,
The wide creek, the mist blurred grass.
The moss is slippery, though there’s been no rain
The pine sings, but there’s no wind.
Who can leap the word’s ties
And sit with me among the white clouds?
Rough and dark – the Cold Mountain trail,
Sharp cobbles – the icy creek bank.
Yammering, chirping – always birds
Bleak, alone, not even a lone hiker.
Whip, whip – the wind slaps my face
Whirled and tumbled – snow piles on my back.
Morning after morning I don’t see the sun
Year after year, not a sign of spring.
I have lived at Cold Mountain
These thirty long years.
Yesterday I called on friends and family:
More than half had gone to the Yellow Springs.
Slowly consumed, like fire down a candle;
Forever flowing, like a passing river.
Now, morning, I face my lone shadow:
Suddenly my eyes are bleared with tears.
Spring water in the green creek is clear
Moonlight on Cold Mountain is white
Silent knowledge – the spirit is enlightened of itself
Contemplate the void: this world exceeds stillness.
In my first thirty years of life
I roamed hundreds and thousands of miles.
Walked by rivers through deep green grass
Entered cities of boiling red dust.
Tried drugs, but couldn’t make Immortal;
Read books and wrote poems on history.
Today I’m back at Cold Mountain:
I’ll sleep by the creek and purify my ears.
I can’t stand these bird songs
Now I’ll go rest in my straw shack.
The cherry flowers are scarlet
The willow shoots up feathery.
Morning sun drives over blue peaks
Bright clouds wash green ponds.
Who knows that I’m out of the dusty world
Climbing the southern slope of Cold Mountain?
Cold Mountain has many hidden wonders,
People who climb here are always getting scared.
When the moon shines, water sparkles clear
When the wind blows, grass swishes and rattles.
On the bare plum, flowers of snow
On the dead stump, leaves of mist.
At the touch of rain it all turns fresh and live
At the wrong season you can’t ford the creeks.
There’s a naked bug at Cold Mountain
With a white body and a black head.
His hand holds two book scrolls,
One the Way and one its Power.
His shack’s got no pots or oven,
He goes for a long walk with his shirt and pants askew.
But he always carries the sword of wisdom:
He means to cut down sensless craving.
Cold Mountain is a house
Without beans or walls.
The six doors left and right are open
The hall is sky blue.
The rooms all vacant and vague
The east wall beats on the west wall
At the center nothing.
Borrowers don’t bother me
In the cold I build a little fire
When I’m hungry I boil up some greens.
I’ve got no use for the kulak
With hs big barn and pasture –
He just sets uo a prison for himself.
Once in he can’t get out.
Think it over –
You know it might happen to you.
If I hide out at Cold Mountain
Living off mountain plants and berries –
All my lifetime, why worry?
One follows his karma through.
Days and months slip by like water,
Time is like sparks knocked off flint.
Go ahead and let the world change –
I’m happy to sit among these cliffs.
Most T’ien-t’ai men
Don’t know Han-shan
Don’t know his real thought
And call it silly talk.
Once at Cold Mountain, troubles cease –
No more tangled, hung up mind.
I idly scribble poems on the rock cliff,
Taking whatever comes, like a drifting boat.
Some critic tried to put me down –
“Your poems lack the Basic Truth of Tao.”
And I recall the old timers
Who were poor and didn’t care.
I have to laugh at him,
He misses the point entirely,
Men like that
Ought to stick to making money.
I’ve lived at Cold Mountain – how many autumns.
Alone, I hum a song – utterly without regret.
Hungry, I eat one grain of Immortal medicine
Mind solid and sharp; leaning on a stone.
On top of Cold Mountain the lone round moon
Lights the whole clear cloudless sky.
Honor this priceless natural treasure
Concealed in five shadows, sunk deep in the flesh.
My home was at Cold Mountain from the start,
Rambling among the hills, far from trouble.
Gone, and a million things leave no trace
Loosed, and it flows through galaxies
A fountain of light, into the very mind –
Not a thing, and yet it appears before me:
Now I know the pearl of the Buddha nature
Know its use: a boundless perfect sphere.
When men see Han-shan
They all say he’s crazy
And not much to look at –
Dressed in rags and hides.
They don’t get what I say
And I don’t talk their language.
All I can say to those I meet:
“Try and make it to Cold Mountain.”
Bloom (Disney Remix)
A stone I died and rose again a plant;
A plant I died and rose an animal;
I died an animal and was born a man.
Why should I fear? What have I lost by death? – Rumi