Before you were born
before your dad
before your mom
WALKING DOWN A MOUNTAIN
There's no trace of the mountain I've just come down
Where am I?
The autumn breeze tosses and turns lifeless
like a cast-off snakeskin.
A dry turd
with no flies around.
Is this paradise? No.
Hey! With the clay you dug out
I fashioned a buddha.
The buddha turned back into clay.
Pointless as the clear skies after rain.
The wash flaps, a bodhisattva not
knowing it's a bodhisattva.
Lightning over the hill in front
thunder over the hill behind
between the two
one dumb pebble.
After the rain, the waters rose everywhere.
Twelve no thirfourfifsixteen swallows
are soaring high.
A wind stirs.
Ah, this world, that world.
Grow high. The devil can't find you.
Grow deep. Buddha can't find you
Build a house and live there.
Gourd creepers will climb over it,
their flowers dazzling at midnight.
LATE ONE NIGHT
Late one night a fox changes its shape
and slips into your room as a pretty girl:
what will you do?
Don't be stupid. I'll grab her.
Ha, ha, you fox's husband, you.
A fox is more fun than Buddha, of course.
THE POLE STAR
If you vanished
the north would vanish
the south would vanish
east and west would vanish.
108 Zen Poms