Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China

Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient China

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 0811216241

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The earliest and most extensive literary engagement with wilderness in human history, Mountain Home is vital poetry that feels utterly contemporary. China's tradition of "rivers-and-mountains" poetry stretches across millennia. This is a plain-spoken poetry of immediate day-to-day experience, and yet seems most akin to China's grand landscape paintings. Although its wisdom is ancient, rooted in Taoist and Zen thought, the work feels utterly contemporary, especially as rendered here in Hinton's rich and accessible translations. Mountain Home collects poems from 5th- through 13th-century China and includes the poets Li Po, Po Chu-i and Tu Fu. The "rivers-and-mountains" tradition covers a remarkable range of topics: comic domestic scenes, social protest, travel, sage recluses, and mountain landscapes shaped into forms of enlightenment. And within this range, the poems articulate the experience of living as an organic part of the natural world and its processes. In an age of global ecological disruption and mass extinction, this tradition grows more urgently important every day. Mountain Home offers poems that will charm and inform not just readers of poetry, but also the large community of readers who are interested in environmental awareness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

day will no doubt come when dust flies at the bottom of seas, and how can mountaintops avoid the transformation to gravel? Young lovers may part, a man leaving, setting out on some boat, but who could say they’ll never come together again one day? The North Window: Bamboo and Rock A magisterial rock windswept and pure and a few bamboo so lavish and green: facing me, they seem full of sincerity. I gaze into them and can’t get enough, and there’s more at the north window and along the path

many towers and terraces remain in this mist and rain? Inscribed on Recluse Yüan’s Lofty Pavilion Water joins West River to sounds beyond heaven. Outside the study, pine shadow sweeps clouds flat. Who taught me to play this long flute? Together we take to spring wind and frolic with moonlight. Pond in a Bowl Breach cut in green-moss earth, it steals a distant flake of heaven. White clouds emerge in mirror; fallen moon shines below stairs. Climbing Joy-Abroad Plateau A lone bird vanishes

many towers and terraces remain in this mist and rain? Inscribed on Recluse Yüan’s Lofty Pavilion Water joins West River to sounds beyond heaven. Outside the study, pine shadow sweeps clouds flat. Who taught me to play this long flute? Together we take to spring wind and frolic with moonlight. Pond in a Bowl Breach cut in green-moss earth, it steals a distant flake of heaven. White clouds emerge in mirror; fallen moon shines below stairs. Climbing Joy-Abroad Plateau A lone bird vanishes

white garlic pan-fried in dew. Lunar Eclipse A maid comes running into the house talking about things beyond belief, about the sky all turned to blue glass, the moon to a crystal of black quartz. It rose a full ten parts round tonight, but now it’s just a bare sliver of light. My wife hurries off to fry roundcakes, and my son starts banging on mirrors: it’s awfully shallow thinking, I know, but that urge to restore is beautiful. The night deepens. The moon emerges, then goes on shepherding

is the Way of ancient China’s Taoist and Ch’an sages. In it, self is but a fleeting form taken on by earth’s process of change—born out of it, and returned to it in death. Or more precisely, never out of it: totally unborn. For those sages, our truest self, being unborn, is all and none of earth’s fleeting forms simultaneously. Or more absolutely, it is the emptiness of nonbeing, that source which endures through all change. And ancient China’s poets and readers were, in a very real sense, always

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