Monday, December 3, 2012

Response from Dao Mountain

Clouds steadily moving past here
Fierce shapes, soft and powerful
Merge into one another to create
New shapes wide jawed with teeth
Jagged wings and a spiked tail
The eyes are large and see everywhere

What is it searching for?
Who is riding on its back and
What does she want, with her
Vase of healing water and herbs?
Surveying the earth and smiling
Softly yet powerful, the ideal
Of the mystery which cannot be named

Children bring her gifts of
Giant peaches and the deer
From a magic forest deliver
Purple mushrooms of immortality
Incense is lit in an old wooden temple
Prayers are sent up to her on
Curls of smoke from sandalwood coils

Priests wear robes decorated with
Yi-jing hexagrams and embroidered
Cranes and wear ceremonial hats
Quietly chanting on strands of beads
White pearls with cherry amber spacers

The rivers are flooding and the
Wind is mean and cold; the sky is angry
Calmly the astrologers tend their gardens
Far back in the folds of the mountains

Yarrow stalks are thrown down in an
Urban plaza and examined for esoteric meaning
The sage does nothing yet everything gets done
Harmony is the way, yet disharmony
Is more common, which causes fear

That spreads across the land feeding chaos
Guan Yin doesn't like war, and her
Fire breathing mount reflects the longer term
Cause and effect that results from straying
From the wide path of light which leads
Full circle to the Abode of the Immortals
Farmers cultivate and then take rest
On mountain tops beneath the circling dragon
And its celestial passenger

Wayfarers climb the stone staircase
Leading up from the valley floor

To visit the community that agents from the
Cities could not locate for their rulers
No trace of it was reported to the court
Airplanes were sent out and found nothing
At the temple gate wayfarers are greeted with
Chrysanthemum tea and cotton slippers

A rainbow arches over the inner courtyard
Full of poets and a traditional orchestra
The mountain festival is beginning
Sun and moon yield yin-yang secrets

A reckoning is near and cannot be doubted
For it is written on the backs of all
Tortoises by a grand caligrapher
Who serves no one
Fools laugh at this
But the wise will understand

Craig Louis Stehr

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