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Taoist Chinese Poems   (December 27, 2005)

Yesterday's poem by American (dare I say Californian?) poet Robinson Jeffers on Nature's music brings to mind the Taoist poetics of China. To draw the parallels between Jeffers and the Taoists--but not too closely--here are several short poems for your consideration:
Shih t'ao (1641 - 1717)

What does the old master do here?
By the side of the rock he is hunting for a new verse.
Suddenly a cool breeze blows from the pine tree;
Silently and quietly it purifies his spirit and his thought.
And this one, as translated by my old professor at the University of Hawaii, Chang Chung-yuan, author of cover Creativity and Taoism :
The mind of man searches outward all day.
The further it reaches,
The more it opposes itself.
Only those who look inward
Can censor their passions,
And cease their thoughts.
Being able to cease their thoughts,
Their minds become tranquil.
To become tranquil is to nourish one's spirit.
To nourish the spirit is to return to Nature.

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copyright © 2005 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.

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