Longhushan Idyll (a poem)

Written and read by Rene J. Navarro
From the author’s collection, Ascension and Return: Poems of a Village Daoist

Longhushan Idyll

Doing Tai Chi Chuan outside
In mid-Autumn: a deer is watching me
from the edge of the woods
as it is sniffing the wind
descending from the west.
A full moon above the pines
but it is playing hide
and seek behind the clouds
and trees. In the valley,
smoke is rising from a thatched hut.
It is just 5 in the morning
and there is no sound
of human presence here
on Dragon Ridge. The hermit
in the Immortal’s Cave
on the Eastern slope
has not shown up for days.
I listen for his footfalls but
there is only the rustling
of the wind in the trees
and leaves falling at my feet.
A jug of hot black tea is waiting
on a rock. Master Jiang told me
to sit and meditate
and go
intro the void. No, shifu, now is not
the time
to block everything from my eyes
and ears and float
in emptiness.
There is so much to feast on
with the senses. Why
go inward now when the earth
is so rich with its colors,
scents, tastes and sounds?
Li-Bai, Su Dong Po, Tao Chien,
Du-Fu, my mentors and brothers,
let us get together again. Send for
the best turtle soup, deer tendon
casserole, West Lake Carp, Shanghai
crab and chrysanthemum. Let us
get drunk on
the best Xiaoxing wine
and ride the dragon chariot
on the Milky Way.

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