THE SUN, THE MOON, DEEP INTO THE CENTER OF THE FOREST

About a year ago I found a book on Chinese poetry. I don’t buy too many books on Chinese poetry because, of the ones that are out there, many of them leave out the original Chinese. And Chinese is very open to interpretation especially in translating poetry into English. If I buy a book on Chinese poetry, I want to see the original Chinese with it—so I can better understand the Chinese poem. Fortunately this book had that.

Anyway, within the book there was a poem that I found to be similar to the last one in my previous post. Chinese poetry reflects a lot of Buddhist sentiment as well, but it is also heavily influenced by the animistic beliefs of Taoism. This poem is by Wang Wei who lived about 700 A.D. This is my own translation,

 

The empty mountain, no one can be seen
but voices are heard
The sun’s reflection reaches deep into the forest
and shines upon the green moss.

 

I left out the word human, or person or people in the second verse, which appears in the original Chinese. Afterall, disembodied voices echoing from an empty mountain, may not necessarily be people—they could after all be gods, spirits, fairies, ghosts…

The last one of my own haiku in my previous post:

 

奥へ,奥へと
冬森に
月光が。。。

 

Oku eh, oku eh to
Fuyu mori ni
gekko ga…

 

Deeper, deeper
into the winter forest–
the moonlight…

 

In my animistic world, if it is moving to the center, it is moving to that universal center, the axis mundi: the World Tree, or World Cave, or perhaps the shaman’s fire (of Mongolian or Ural Altaic Shamanic traditions) or even just the center of the forest, which is sacred in the animistic traditions of Bali, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other corners of South East Asia. The Sun, of course, is always sacred, just like the moon.

Here is another of mine referencing the moon from 2009:

 

道分からずに
雪の月も
淋しい

 

Michi wakarazu ni
yuki no tsuki mo
sabishii

 

Lost, and
even the snowy moon
is lonely

 

The word, ‘lost,’ does not refer to the moon, but to an individual, either in the first person, second person, or however you experience it. The Japanese, michi wakarazu, literally means to not understand the path, road, or way. But nature, from our perspective, often reflects our own sentiments. When we are happy, we see a happy moon, even if we do not always consciously catch it as such. But an angry person may look at that same moon and see an angry one.

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