Gazing at the Sacred Peak

January 10, 2008

For all this, what is the mountain god like?
An unending green of lands north and south:
From ethereal beauty Creation distills
There, yin and yang split dusk and dawn.
Swelling clouds sweep by. Returning birds
Ruin my eyes vanishing. One day soon,
At the summit, the other mountains will be
Small enough to hold, all in a single glance
 the part in this poem that really got me thinking was the very first question. For all this, what is the mountain god like?

when i read this poem, i was reminded of when i went to the grand canyon in hawaii, and found myself looking up from the bottom of the canyon (with my mule standing next to me..haha) and just staring there in awe. If this is how i view a tiny section of a gigantic canyon, then it must be the most overwhelming experience to look at everything “in a single glance.” it really made me think about how it must be, for the “mountain god” to look at everything and in a single glance. if we had that option, to see thinks in a single glance, how wuold we respond. It’d be like looking out an airplane, and being able to see EVERYTHING….its really crazy to think about

A Woman of Quality

January 9, 2008

Matchless in breeding and beauty,
a fine lady has taken refuge
in this forsaken valley.
She is of good family, she says,
but her fortune has withered away;
now she lives as the grass and trees.
When the heartlands fell to the rebels
her brothers were put to death;
birth and position availed nothing–
she was not even allowed
to bring home their bones for burial.
The world turns quickly against
those who have had their day–
fortune is a lamp-flame
flickering in the wind.
Her husband is a fickle fellow
who has a lovely new woman.
Even the vetch-tree is more constant,
folding its leaves every dusk,
and mandarin ducks
always sleep with their mates.
But he has eyes only
for his new woman’s smile,
and his ears are deaf
to his first wife’s weeping.
High in the mountains
spring water is clear as truth,
but when it reaches the lowlands
it is muddied with rumor.
Her serving-maid returns
from selling her pearls;
she drags a creeper over
to cover holes in the roof.
The flowers the lady picks
are not for her hair,
and the handfuls of cypress
are a bitter stay against hunger.
Her pretty blue sleeves
are too thin for the cold;
as evening falls
she leans on the tall bamboo.

 in this poem, i saw a lot of nature imagery used. in the beginning of the poem, when the woman is the only one in the man’s eyes, she lives on the grass and trees. i thought it was interesting how then at the end of the poem, she is leaning on the tall bamboo, something similar to grass, except it is sturdy and firm, and even used for building. i think that this change represents the strong person she will be come when this happens, able to be on her own.

i also really liked the metaphors used, “spring water is clear as truth, but when it reaches the lowlands it is muddied with rumor” i was able to get such a mental picture through this, because it is so true. when lies first start off, they are true. but then when they go down through different stages, they get broken down and eventually become mud.