16 November 2015

Rose-coloured clouds

Han Shan, Cold Mountain, or Kanzan as the Japanese call him.

Kerouac dedicated The Dharma Bums to him.

This poet is available to me only in translation.

There are many translations out there.

Here is a verse translated by Red Pine:

A man who lives on rose-coloured clouds
shunned the usual haunts for a home
every season is equally dead
summer is just like fall
a dark stream always babbles
a towering pine wind sighs
sitting here less than one day
he forgets a whole liftime of sorrow

The first line is supposedly an allusion to the spiritual powers of the dawn and sunset.

I quite like it.

Last week it rained quite a bit. On many days, there were marvellous storms in the evening around sunset. Drinking in the rose-coloured clouds, I got to meditate and play flute and shakuhachi along with the rain, lightning and thunder. It's very soothing for me.

Not much is know for certain about Han Shan's life. Some of his poems are most famous, but there is no standard order to his canon. I could not find another version of the verse above to compare to. Whether it makes any sense only you can decide.

Not one among these forms will last,
All will break, crumble, vanish, pass.
It is all Your love,
It is all Your love.
To know Your love
Is to see the face of Bliss
In the heart of the world.

The cloud,
the tree-tops,
My heart
is dancing
In the wind
of the sunset-sky.

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