3

In the mountains it’s cold.
Always been cold, not just this year.
Jagged scarps forever snowed in
Woods in the dark ravines spitting mist.
Grass is still sprouting at the end of June,
Leaves begin to fall in early August.
And here am I, high on mountains,
Peering and peering, but I can’t even see the sky

Han Shan translated by Gary Snyder.

3

It’s bleak here
it’s always been bleak.
Dark buildings half-blown down,
shadows enough to spook a saint.
But grass still sprouts each June
school kids return each autumn.
Now I’m here, which is nowhere
looking for a vision that just won’t come.

Parallel poem from Charlie’s Cold Mountain 2000

15

There’s a naked bug at Cold Mountain
With a white body and a black head.
His hand holds two book-scrolls,
One the Way and one its Power.
His shack’s got no pots or oven,
He goes for a walk with his shirt and pants askew.
But he always carries the sword of wisdom:
He means to cut down senseless craving.

Han Shan translated by Gary Snyder

15

There’s a ragged poet on this city street
in an old turtleneck and faded jeans.
His one hand holds a copy of On the Road
and the other Naked Lunch.
He’s thin and hasn’t got much.
He’s a sorry sight,
but he’s close to his roots
and that keeps his head on straight.

Parallel poem from Charlie’s Cold Mountain 2000