cold mountain (34) (35) (36)

 

34: The Dragon Queen

My tongue is the braided silt of the estuary, my voice a tide running between the banks. My song is a low sluicing cry, the measures of fresh and salt, disturbed by your many boats.

 

35: Spring

Days without end of the same gray dawns, the same dun noons. Winter was over months ago, but spring delays like relief following an illness. I had folded in on myself, hardening like an exoskeleton, brittle in my strength, profound in my vulnerability. When I saw the first spray of cherry blossoms against the thick turquoise of the sky, I cleaved like the ice at the mouth of the river, and all I was ran out to meet the season.

 

36: Old age, sickness, and death

When they build the museum with the old monk’s robes, ring the spirit bells and stake the spoon in the offertory rice for each person who buys a ticket. When they shout in the streets, We will never forget! empty your pockets to the wordless wind and leave your personal history behind like a too-small shoe. When they come to placate the generations, deny your ancestry. When they say, It was the best time of my life, plan a trip someplace you’ve never been. When your strength fails you, learn to carry less.

 

Chinese and English, pp. 58-61, here.

Although I announced in late March that I wouldn’t be posting here until April 5th, I ended up taking an unexpected trip (a man-haeng) just a few days after I got back from the training and ordination for bhikkuni precepts. The result is that I’m ten days over-due getting started again, so I’ll be posting more than one Cold Mountain response a day for awhile to try and even out the days I’ve missed, since I also anticipate a few missed weeks in the late spring and early summer as I transition from Korea to America.