Here are a series of poems I originally published on poetrysoup.com :
(All rights released into the Public Domain)
One Man’s Paradise is Often Another’s Perdition
One man’s paradise is often another’s perdition,
And from prejudice arise people’s positions.
All seek selfish weal, to shift every woe
Upon those they deem as detestable foes.
Duty and Sacrifice — so often prated by
Those beyond the burdens of their lies.
If both men and women could but empathize
And see another’s pain as their own torment,
They would rein in their entitlements
And make allowances for the needs of others.
For when all place first the comfort of another,
Who could possibly be left wanting or enraged
In a world remade in kindly heavenly image?
The Mid Autumn Festival
Night falls and the mirror moon illumes the
heavenly starry skies with gleaming ivory beams.
Shiny and mellow, a splendrous silver orb,
the delight of the night sky!
It is the evening of the 15th, and the cool air is fair,
filled with chirping crickets and reason for revelry.
Kinfolk gather to rejoice within the warmth of their hearth,
toasting with mulled wine ; munching moon cakes!
But today is also sacred and solemn, and offerings
must be made to Heaven and Earth. Thus, scented
sandalwood incense are lit ; apricots and pomelos are placed
upon lacquer plates before the plaques of divine gods,
and dear ancestors.
Away from laughter and lanterns, besides a quiet lake,
and under a lofty peak, sits a sagacious couple. She smiles
and plays the guqin, sending with each skillful stroke,
soft and serene sounds that grace the ethereal night’s air.
As for him, he stands pleased under the pavilion, inhaling
the sweet scents of blooming peach blossoms, admiring
the moon as it rose and the beauty of his wife before the
bright shimmer of moonlight.
Content, he recites a poem:
“The moon is luminous,
Heaven is harmonious,
Autumn has come,
And Summer is gone,
I toast my cassia wine,
To a harvest most fine!”
Inspired by Zen
May all my hopes and fears dissolve into timeless truth,
May they melt away and trouble be no more,
Let my inner mind gleam, and beam wisely and bright,
And my heart abide neither here nor there but
Arise from anywhere and nowhere!
-Poem inspired by the Shurangama and the Diamond Sutra (Zen)
The Vow of Amitabha:
I will rise far beyond the yonder
And cruise upon the unsurpassed
If my vows won’t come to pass
Then from Bodhi I will wander
I seek to be the greatest patron
And give alms to the forsaken
To let all beneath the skies
Have peace in their long nights
Arising from virtuous roots
Accomplishing the Bodhi-fruit
If I achieve wisdom most high
I shall be known as Infinite Life
Beings who heed my name
And arrive in my Buddha-domain
Will have Sagely golden brilliance
And all the features of excellence
With the Greatest Compassion
I uproot the many passions
Of every order of beings
Endowing virtue most purifying
I shall shine my Wisdom Light
Across the ten quarters bright
Quelling the three dark taints
And pardoning those attainted
I offer salvation to those in perdition
I subdue all turbid emotions
I help open the Wisdom-eye
And grant bodies of shining light
I wall off every woeful path
And pave the way to wealful mirth
I mine the Dharma-treasure
And distribute merits with pleasure
I seek to be wise like the Buddha
To be kind like the Tathagata
To be the teacher of all devas,
To shoulder the universe like Atlas
To preach the Dharma like Simha
To save those mired in karma
To perfect each and every vow
And give Buddha-hood to all
If my vision is proved true
The whole universe will be moved
Heavenly deities shall fete
And scatter flowers like confetti !
Will You Slumber On
When the moon retires its gleam,
And sunlight shines upon the dew,
Do you rise from bed anew?
Or slumber on in a waking dream….
Now and Then in Fair Fallhill
Slowly, my ferryboat drifted closer to my dear old home. Before me, the stony peaks of familiar mountains arose from the blue hue, and just as cool salty breezes blew across my face, the childhood memories rushed back into my heart—moving me to shed several wistful teardrops.
But, as I approached the docks of Fallhill harbor, it dawned upon me that age had punished the city as it has my body. The neat cobblestones had cracked and sprouted weeds. The piers were rotting and the paint flaking and peeling. I ascended the worn stone steps and onto the grand promenade, where in my youth, young elegant couples strolled with all their finery—gaiting as they admired the many fine boutiques —spending afternoons of leisure under the canopies of the open cafes. Alas! Those days are gone.
The charming stone facades were tainted by watermarks, and the grand Hanseatic townhouses were decayed and dilapidated. The bay windows were broken and boarded ; the fashionable shops and restaurants had closed, though some clung to life and flogged their fading majesty to the odd passerby.
I then made my way to the Gallery of Fine Arts. In its day, it was much renowned and eager artists from far and wide begged to have but a fleeting moment within its gilded halls.
But when I walked into its spacious atrium, the vaulted cast iron and glass roof was shattered and dripping with rust. Bronze statues lay broken upon the floor, and the many oak panels and oil paintings were worn and crooked. Not a soul could be seen, except the old curator, who sat idly by and stared forlornly into the dimly lit halls.
I sighed and left to visit the Thrice Tiered Gardens. Built upon a sloping hill on the banks of the azure Vesbyrn river, it was a marvel that had no rival. I still reminisce the long summers I spent amongst its many fragrant blossoms and blooming arbors. How I sat there, amidst a world of my own, gazing at the magnificent view of the faraway sea, admiring the sun as it rose and the moon as it glowed.
But now, it is overgrown, with broken marble vases strewn across the uneven paths. Colorful weeds and vines of every kind now smother the withered orchards and the crumbling pavilions. Only the timeless view remained.
Evening falls and I sit in my favorite corner cafe. Though the years have taken its toll, it is still open. I drink my plum wine and sigh and say to myself, “Love and glory cannot be kept forever, and must be parted with!”
The Bane of Able Men is a Blind and Crippled World
The bane of able men, is a blind, deaf and crippled world,
Lacking in discernment, decorum and sincerity,
Wanting genuine gratitude, profound wisdom and propriety,
Choking on complacency, and adrift in a sea of avarice,
Void of foresight, and ignorant of looming calamity,
Full of men greedy for mere gain–like a mantis stalking a
Careless cicada, oblivious of the oriole behind!
Sighing, the sagacious seclude themselves and bide their time,
Waiting for better times.
The Wheel of Fortune Spins Away But Rarely Your Way
For every man that walks the Earth,
There are umpteen scores of envious souls,
Jealous of the privilege they now hold,
For nothing is rarer than human rebirth!
“If the soil clutched in the palm of my hand
Are the men and women who walk this land,
Then even all the dirt of the world entire
Are dwarfed by the souls seeking such a chance!”
– Shakyamuni Buddha.
Therefore, a life of virtue and good deeds
Is a message all of humanity must heed,
For this human life is short and scarce,
And if wasted, another come from whence?
Thus the sutras state:
Good or evil in this realm of men
Will yield eon spanning bliss or bane,
And as the Wheel of Fortune spins away,
Millions of souls hoping for rebirth as men,
Despair when it does not turn their way!
Within the House of Lake Walensee
Mist glides above the pristine waters,
Divine clouds rest gently upon the peaks,
Of fair and turquoise Walensee.
Night falls and moon-glow illumes,
The everblooming and serene hills,
Of clear and lofty Walenstadt.
Hidden within the lush green flora,
Leaning against the majestic forest,
Is the little house by Lake Walen.
An elegant cottage with cosy lamp light,
Flowing outwards into the air of night,
That wreathe the pearl of St.Gallen.
Within, a gramophone brings forth,
The mellow sound of a slow lyric waltz,
And the graceful couple of Walen house,
A flaxen lady and her gentle, stoic man,
Delight as they gait softly in warm embrace,
To the still and beauty of fair Walensee!
Beyond the Yonder
What lies beyond,
Far over yonder?
What? You wonder,
And you ponder.
Is it lush like dreams?
A land esteemed?
Or arid and bleak,
Lacking even a creek?
Provisions you gather,
Prepare to wander,
Onwards you saunter,
Go forth and discover!
The Secret Place of the Most High
The sun illumes a land in precarious peace,
There was a time when heroes walked with ease,
But now, complacency reigns shamelessly,
And the distracted people take weal for granted.
The decaying dynasty finally crumbles and tumbles,
The peaks and gorges are once again scorched,
By the scourge of purges and the roar of warlords,
Stately cities are reduced to ashes as they clash.
For the fortunes of men forever wax and wane,
Burning ambition paves the way to perdition,
With their towering arrogance, they brandish lances,
They charge with fury, seeking eternal glory!
The hooves of their bolting steeds tread rudely,
Upon the hopes and dreams of common rubes,
Lauding themselves as the rising ascendancy,
They conquer and scheme without empathy.
Amidst such strife, men and women cry and sigh,
They brood as they are driven into servitude,
Streaming away from the ruins of their hearth,
They weep over fading memories of bygone mirth.
As for me, I am well aware of the follies of men,
I sought not pomp, power or to lord over and reign,
Thus, God rewarded me with an oasis in the chaos,
A quiet utopia of everblooming peach blossoms.
Of clear skies, lush gardens and teal colored lakes,
Day and night, I gait gently to the tune of a flute,
And compose poems while gazing at silky moonglow,
Everyday, I delight in this wondrous Eden of my own!
The faith and virtues I so steadfastly accrued,
Have freed me from the bane of men’s feuds,
For I now dwell in the secret place of the Most High,
And abide in the shadow of the Almighty!
The Great Learning
Stilling avarice with abstinence,
He recovers profound innate wisdom,
Gaining sincerity most genuine,
And a righteous heart of prudence,
As proper mind exudes propriety,
He harmonizes hearth and household,
And steers his state away from woe,
Proving himself fit for purple dignity.
This is the Sea-Daunting and Promising
Shimmering sea, glimmering waves
Glistening waters, mirroring moon-glow
Beyond the beaches, coral lagoons
Mellow boroughs, dotting the shore
Rising sun, peaking through the sky
Day has arrived, ousting dark night
Merchant adventurers, sail forth to venture
The deep blue hue, revealed to the crew
Vast is its reach, and cool the salty breeze
Violent are its storms, and mighty its depths
Haunted by sirens, whose tunes take wing
Amid broken dreams, and forlorn hope
Morbid castaways, adrift or ashore
Gaze upon the horizon, dazed and confused
Perhaps they seek, an island of nymphs,
Just like Odysseus, or so they think
This is the sea, daunting and promising
Poseidon’s wonders, for all to see!
Laments of the Forever Unborn
I am a child of no years,
Of no form, only tears.
I was once to be born,
But from womb I was torn.
Not a person, or so they say,
But I have a soul, and hopes too.
Alas! The wings of my dreams,
Have been clipped by cruel whim.
And now, silent I linger,
In a cold, dark corner,
Pondering upon the life
That could have been.
Mother! All I wanted was to be filial,
To make your years convivial,
To be your sun when life’s winter sets,
Did I really….deserve not to be?
My dream, My yearning
My dream, my undying yearning,
Is to dwell in a dream-world of my own,
In a misty city amid teal lakes and white peaks,
Filled with clear waters, lush groves and majestic pines,
With marvelous minimalist halls of mid-century design.
I seek to read in lofty libraries and muse in art galleries,
To be adrift in abstract beauty and a Baroque adagio,
To lounge in cafes filled with creative reverie, and
Elegant silent patrons lost in their daydreams.
I yearn to spend each sublime evening admiring starry skies
From under a domed skylight, to enjoy creamy coffee upon a
Lakeside veranda, amid dew drops and cool blissful breezes,
Gazing at the sun as it rises beyond the skyline.
Life is But a Slide Show
Craving for an illusion
Chasing after phantoms
Life is like moving pictures
One slide after another
Played in rapid succession
Making us but a series of stills
King Yama is the director
Our karma is the script
And the spirits who record
Our every virtue and vice
Are the writers of our role
Of our every weal or woe!
Thus, what is worth clinging to ?
A still, an image, an illusion?
Ponder deeply and look within:
Which single slide is truly you?
A Modest Man
He grew his own food,
And sewed his own clothes,
He owed no one,
But shared with everyone.
He rejected larceny,
Refrained from intrigue,
Spurned lust, lies and malice,
Spoke only kindness
And practiced but prudence.
He was a modest man… are we?
May the Forlorn Find Home
May the forlorn find warm hearth,
A place of their own upon this Earth,
A cosy delight beneath the skies,
A nest in the night with mellow lamp light.
Tell Me Truly, For I Yearn to Hear
To you I humbly inquire:
What is your heart’s desire?
Your greatest delight?
The crowning achievement
Of your entire Life?
What moves you to tears?
Brings out your smile?
Pleases your ears?
And sprinkles upon you
the sweetest dreams?
Tell me truly, For I yearn to hear!