I live mostly alone. Most days I speak to no one beyond saying 'Good morning' to those I pass on bicycle paths or marina docks. That is different now that Carol is here. She flew in last Friday and will spend ten days over the Thanksgiving holiday and will be back for almost three weeks over Christmas. I will return with her to Illinois in January for about a month. So I am now often having conversations. How odd. But daily I read the poems of ancient Chinese and Japanese, often monks. They sought the monasteries of the land. I, a much married monk, found the monastery of the sea. I miss it. I must enter it again, which I am finding unexpectedly difficult.
My poetry reading these days is Walt Whitman's LEAVES OF GRASS and MOUNTAIN HOME: THE WILDERNESS POETRY OF ANCIENT CHINA.
I have read Whitman on and off for decades. I am still not certain what I think of him. Certainly he is original, but I don't share many of his beliefs or desires. I am completely at home with the ancient Chinese, one of whom, Han Shan, took the name Cold Mountain on which he lived alone writing poems on rocks and trees, which were admired by the local prefect who collected and preserved them.
Here are four poems from the book.
Li Po (701-7620