Read an Excerpt
From Part One: Cold Mountain
Some folks point to the sharp-tanged spring-tree
and claim it’s the fragrant, sacred sandalwood . . .
As grains of sand are the multitudes
who’ve sought the way like this.
They’ve tried to lead the Way so too.
How many, though, of any of these
have ever reached nirvana?
They throw out the gold and haul away the straw.
But fooling other folks, they’ve fooled themselves.
On a pathway made of sand,
it’s hard to make a mud ball.
From Part Two: The Foundling's Poems
I’ve always been Shih Te, the Foundling.
It’s not some accidental title.
Yet I’m not without a family.
Han Shan’s my brother.
Two men with hearts a lot alike.
No need for vulgar love.
If you want to know how old we are . . .
like the Yellow River, that’s unclear.
From Part Three: Cold City Streets
When I move, the city walls move too.
When I nap, I’m sure, the walls stand firm.
But when I die, the walls will all come tumbling
And all you folks will be in danger.