Chinese poetry & me


 It is telling that one of the standard subjects of Chinese poetry was visiting a remote monastery: they were good places to visit, but would the poet really want to live there? If he did, who would see his poetry? link

Interesting question which reminds me of the way I live in Holland Michigan.  I grapple with the notion that music needs listeners. I have written many pieces that remain essentially unheard. This drives me to seek venues like the street and the coffee shop in addition to playing in church.  The public performance completes my act of loving music. But it is only a small part of the time I spend with what I love.

I like many of the poems in this review. It interested me that the reviewer (and presumably the editor/translator of the book) talked about Ezra Pound’s take on Chinese poetry. Although he wasn’t my first exposure to Chinese poetry, his “translations” were formative on my understanding of it and remain in my memory as examples of poems I like. 

Here’s a poem I like from this review:

Everyone who glimpses Cold Mountain

starts complaining about insane winds,


about a look human eyes can’t endure

and a shape nothing but tattered robes.


They can’t fathom these words of mine.

Theirs I won’t even mention. I just tell


all those busy people bustling around:

Come face Cold Mountain for a change.


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