Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ma Yuan (China 1190-1129)
Metropolitan Museum, New York City
Caught in an eternal moment, they move serenely through time
Two sages gazing at the wonder of morning.
Aware of themselves, of spray on their faces, cloud and sun intermingling.
Sound of water falling without ceasing,
As words of their verses fall into the cadence of their mood.
As the air holds fragrance of earth, fern, pine and flower.
They do not see me as I stand on their terraced mountain,
Feeling the cold, cloudy mist from the waterfall,
Knowing the hidden stream below, that receives
The rushing waters in the rockbound gorge,
Listening to birsong bright as the glittering drops that sprinkle
The stones of the terrace: yet I see the very texture of their garments,
Breathe the sweet odor of pungent pine.
The massive white stem sends out dark branches,
Throws at my feet its polished purple seeds, pagoda-shaped.
Vibrant and free, the fragile bamboo delicately waves...
Is it in the wind of my arrival?
When will the teacher turn his grave glance upon me?
In what age shall I share the thoughts of his pure heart?
I shall wait here forever
Until the sage bids me approach and listen.
In this scene I have a part.
Mary Kennedy (American)
Ride into Morning: poems
New York, 1969, Gotham Book Mart
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