For a dear and beloved friend in San Francisco, who was ordained into the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi on August 10 of this year.

WRITTEN ON THE WALL AT CHANG’S HERMITAGE

1.

It is spring in the mountains.
I come alone seeking you.
The sound of chopping wood echoes
Between the silent peaks.
The streams are still icy.
There is snow on the trail.
At sunset I reach your grove
In the stormy mountain pass.
You want nothing, although at night
You can see the aura of gold
And silver ore all around you.
You have learned to be gentle
As the mountain deer you have tamed.
The way back forgotten, hidden
Away, I become like you,
An empty boat, floating, adrift.

2.

In spring mountains, alone, I set out to find you.
Axe strokes crack—crack and quit. Silence doubles

I pass snow and ice lingering along cold streams,
then, at Stone-Gate in late light, enter these woods.

You harm nothing: deer roam here each morning;
want nothing: auras gold and silver grace nights.

Facing you on a whim in bottomless dark, the way
here lost—I feel it drifting, this whole empty boat.

  — Tu Fu (712 – 770), Chinese Poet of the Tang Dynasty.
  — Translations by Kenneth Rexroth (1) & David Hinton (2).