Find Comfort in Nature
NEW! Tao Poetry on Youtube
The profound dark depths of the masters
teach us that nothing should be habitual.
Like a baby who doesn't know
a waddling dance of balance
against the force
of the earth
that would hold us to its bosom.
We must never forget we are not alone here.
Because every day is new,
we have never arrived
and cannot expect to understand.
So let it go.
We are gracious in times of confusion
because the Way is mysterious .
To be subtle,
we know that the moment is right.
Whatever it is,
we are learning.
No need to express anything.
When change is upon us,
we need only dissolve.
Subtle is a way of being
without needing to be noticed:
Like the great trunk of a tree
that remains hidden
beneath its flowering branches.
And the lesson of obscurity:
since we don't know ourselves,
how can we be known?
we need not defend
But Tao knows who we are.
And our Te, when married to the moment,
inspires action without striving
we rise like an ocean wave
called forward by the moon.
we breathe into the wind
the way winter changes into spring.
not with expectation
but because the night sky
is suddenly filled with light.
And like the bird who sings
without knowing why,
every step is taken with gratitude.
Who can be patient
until life returns us to its dance?
The masters were said to be profound
because we show the greatest wisdom
when we are comfortable
in Tao's mysterious
and unknown depths.
"I asked the boy beneath the pines.
He said: the Master’s gone alone
herb picking somewhere on the mount,
cloud-hidden, whereabouts unknown."
"Joy and anger,
sorrow and happiness,
caution and remorse
Come upon us by turns,
with ever changing mood.
They come like music from hollows,
like wood when played by the wind,
or how mushrooms grow from the damp.
Daily and nightly they alternate within
but we cannot tell whence they spring.
Without these emotions I should not be.
Without me, they would have no instrument."
The flower invites the butterfly with no-mind;
The butterfly visits the flower with no-mind.
The flower opens, the butterfly comes;
The butterfly comes, the flower opens.
I don't know others,
Others don't know me.
By not-knowing we follow nature's course.
The great mass of breath is the wind, yet there are times
when the wind does not move. When it does move,
a myriad of orifices and appendages are aroused to make sounds.
Have you never listened to the sound of the wind in the cavities,
mountains and among the branches of trees?
The wind blows in a thousand different ways,
but each sound is produced in its own way.
What is it that excites all this, and makes each way be itself,
and all these things be self-produced?”
“Is not the action of nature like the stretching of a bow?
The high, it pulls down; the low, it lifts up;
It takes from what is in excess
In order to make good of what is deficient.
Who can take what they have in excess and offer it to others?”
Tao te Ching
Poetry of the Seasons
"Bears, dragons, tempestuous on mountain and river,
Startle the forest and make the heights tremble.
Clouds darken beneath the darkness of rain,
streams pale with a pallor of mist.
The gods of Thunder and Lightning
Shatter the whole range."
"Beneath the light, the river and hills are beautiful,
The spring breeze bears the fragrance of flowers and grass.
The mud has thawed, and swallows fly around.
On the warm sand, mandarin ducks are sleeping."
The water murmurs
in the old stone well,
And, a rippling mirror,
gives back the clear blue sky.
The river roars,
swollen with the late rains of spring.
On the cool, jade green grass
the golden sunshine
Sometimes, at early dawn,
even as far as Lien Shan Temple.
In the spring
I plow the thirsty field,
that it may drink new life.
I eat a little,
I work a little,
each day my hair grows thinner,
and it seems,
I lean ever a bit more heavily
on my old thornwood cane.
I slumbered spring's morning and missed the dawn
from everywhere, I heard the cry of birds.
That night the sound of wind and rain came.
Who knows how many petals had fallen?
"A little child paddles a little boat,
Drifting about, and picking white lotuses.
He does not know how to hide his tracks,
And duckweed's opened up along his path."
“Make your heart like a lake
with a calm, still surface
and great depths of kindness.”
In this moment, life flows through me with a clarity and purpose.
Words and ideas are irrational until I recognize
how simple life really is in the moment.
Away from stillness, I see how questions go unanswered.
It is then that my grandfather’s wisdom teaches me
to let my mind settle like murky water,
Settling slowly, I stir
And gently come to life.
If I keep the green bough in my heart the singing bird will come.
Love settles in the garden after many rains,
Moments, flowing in time….into a blossom.
"A strip of water's spread in the setting sun,
Half the river's emerald, half is red.
I love the third night of the ninth month,
The dew is like a pearl; the moon like a bow."
"The autumn hill gathers the remaining light,
A flying bird chases after its companion.
The green color is bright
And brings me into the moment,
like a sunset mist that has no fixed place."
"Autumn clouds, vague and obscure;
The evening, lonely and chill.
I felt the dampness on my garments,
But saw no spot, and heard no sound of rain."
I burned incense, swept the earth, and waited
for a poem to come...
Then I laughed, and climbed the mountain,
leaning on my staff.
How I'd love to be a master
of the blue sky's art:
see how many sprigs of snow-white clouds
he’s brushed in so far today.
"In the third month of autumn it blows down the leaves
to open up the second month's flowers.
On the river are waves of a thousand feet.
Among the bamboo, ten thousand are dry and slanting."
Wind passes over the lake.
The swelling waves stretch away
without limit. Autumn comes with the twilight,
and boats grow rare on the river.
Flickering waters and fading mountains
always touch the heart of man.
I never grow tired of singing
of their boundless beauty.
The lotus pods are already formed.
And the water lilies have grown old.
The dew has brightened the blossoms
of the arrowroot along the river bank.
The herons and seagulls sleep
on the sand with their
heads tucked away, as though
they did not wish to see
the men who pass by on the river.
Li Ch'ing Chao
"Two monks sit facing, playing chess on the mountain,
The bamboo shadow on the board is dark and clear.
Not a person sees the bamboo's shadow,
One sometimes hears the pieces being moved."
"A springlike autumn's balmy breeze reaches afar.
The sun shines on the house of a recluse
South of the river;
They encourage the December apricots
To burst into bloom:
A simplehearted person
Faces the simplehearted flowers."
"The plants all know that spring will soon return,
All kinds of red and purple contend in beauty.
The poplar blossom and elm seeds are not beautiful,
They can only fill the sky with flight like snow."
"Cut brambles long enough,
Sprout after sprout,
And the lotus will bloom
Of its own accord:
Already waiting in the clearing,
The single image of light.
The day you see this,
That day you will become it."
"The universe is but a tenement
of all things visible. Darkness and day
the passing guests of Time.
Life slips away,
a dream of little joy and mean content.
Ah! wise the old philosophers who sought
To lengthen their long sunsets among flowers,
By stealing the young night's unsullied hours
And the dim moments with sweet burdens fraught.
And now Spring beckons me with verdant hand,
And Nature's wealth of eloquence doth win
Forth to the fragrant-bowered nectarine,
Where my dear friends abide, a careless band.
There meet my gentle, matchless brothers, there
I come, the obscure poet, all unfit
To wear the radiant jewelry of wit,
And in their golden presence cloud the air.
And while the thrill of meeting lingers, soon
As the first courtly words, the feast is spread,
While, couched on flowers 'mid wine-cups flashing red,
We drink deep draughts unto The Lady Moon.
Then as without the touch of verse divine
There is no outlet for the pent-up soul,
'Twas ruled that he who quaffed no fancy's bowl
Should drain the "Golden Valley" cups of wine.
"A dog's bark amid the water's sound,
Peach blossom that's made thicker by the rain.
Deep in the trees, I sometimes see a deer,
And at the stream I hear no noonday bell.
Wild bamboo divides the green mist,
A flying spring hangs from the jasper peak.
No-one knows the place to which he's gone,
Sadly, I lean on two or three pines."
"Through the evening mist a lone goose is flying.
Of one tone are wide waters and sky.
The hills are shadows
And they flow from form to form
And nothing stands."
"Spirit and energy should be clear as the night air;
In the soundless is the ultimate pleasure all along.
Where there's reality in illusion
Is illusion in reality,
For the while playing with magical birth
In the silver bowl."
‘I divined and chose a distant place to dwell
T'ien-t'ai; what more is there to say?
Monkeys cry where valley mists are cold,
My grass gate blends with the color of the crags,
I pick leaves to thatch a hut among the pines,
Scoop out a pond and lead a runnel from the spring.
By now I am used to doing without the world,
Picking ferns, I pass the years that are left.
The trail to Cold Mountain is faint
the banks of Cold Stream are a jungle
birds constantly chatter away
I hear no sound of people
gusts of wind lash my face
flurries of snow bury my body
day after day, no sun
year after year no spring."
"The relic from before birth
Enters one's heart one day.
Be as careful as if you were holding a full vessel,
Be as gentle as if you were caressing an infant.
The gate of earth should be shut tight,
The portals of heaven should be first opened.
Wash the yellow sprouts clean,
And atop the mountain is thunder shaking the earth."
“The leaf tips bend
under the weight of dew.
Fruits are ripening
in Earth's early morning.
Daffodils light up in the sun.
The curtain of cloud at the gateway
of the garden path begins to shift:
have pity for childhood,
the way of illusion.
Late at night,
the candle gutters.
In some distant desert,
a flower opens.
And somewhere else,
a cold aster
that never knew a cassava patch
or gardens of areca palms,
never knew the joy of life,
at that instant disappears-
man's eternal yearning.”
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
as if it is the axis
on which the world earth revolves
- slowly, evenly, without
rushing toward the future;
Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.”
“Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
"The great forge produces mountains and waters,
Containing therein the potential of creation.
In the morning, greet the energy of the sun;
At night, inhale the vitality of the moon.
In time the elixir can be culled;
With the years, the body naturally lightens.
Where the original spirit comes and goes,
Myriad apertures emit radiant light.
Before our body existed,
One energy was already there.
Like jade, more lustrous as it's polished,
Like gold, brighter as it's refined.
Sweep clear the ocean of birth and death,
Stay firm by the door of total mastery.
A particle at the point of open awareness,
The gentle firing is warm."
“When you discover nature’s power
to break through all obstacles,
You will discover that this same power
is inside of you.”