We present this work in honor of the 530th anniversary of the poet’s death.
The price of a man consists not in silver and gold; The value of a man is his power and virtue. Many a slave has by acquiring virtue Attained much greater power than a gentleman And many a gentleman has for want of virtue, Become inferior to his own slave.
O dark one, with beautiful eyes, have mercy on me, my birth is low, my reputation black as night.
O dark one, with beautiful eyes, please, have mercy on me. The Vedas proclaim you champion of the low savior of the downtrodden like me. Kanhopatra surrenders again and again, O dark one, have mercy on me.
What is seen is not the Truth
What is cannot be said
Trust comes not without seeing
Nor understanding without words
The wise comprehends with knowledge
To the ignorant it is but a wonder
Some worship the formless God
Some worship His various forms
In what way He is beyond these attributes
Only the Knower knows
That music cannot be written
How can then be the notes
Says Kabir, awareness alone will overcome illusion
We present this work in honor of the Day of the Dead.
He makes the Eagles and Ocelots dance with him!
Come to see the Huexotzinca:
On the dais of the Eagle he shouts out,
Loudly cries the Mexica.
The battlefield is the place: where one toasts the divine liquor in war,
where are stained red the divine eagles,
where the tigers howl,
where all kinds of precious stones rain from ornaments,
where wave headdresses rich with fine plumes,
where princes are smashed to bits.
There is nothing like death in war,
nothing like the flowery death
so precious to Him who gives life:
far off I see it: my heart yearns for it!
And they called it Teotihulcan
because it was the place
where the lords were buried.
Thus they said:
‘When we die,
truly we die not,
because we will live, we will rise,
we will continue living, we will awaken
This will make us happy.’
Thus the dead one was directed,
when he died:
‘Awaken, already the sky is rosy,
already dawn has come,
already sing the flame-coloured guans,
the fire-coloured swallows,
already the butterflies fly.’
Thus the old ones said
that who has died has become a god,
they said: ‘He has been made a god there,
meaning ‘He has died.’
Even jade is shattered,
Even gold is crushed,
Even quetzal plume are torn . . .
One does not live forever on this earth:
We endure only for an instant!
Will flowers be carried to the Kingdom of Death:
Is it true that we are going, we are going?
Where are we going, ay, where are we going?
Will we be dead there or will we live yet?
Does one exist again?
Perhaps we will live a second time?
Thy heart knows:
Just once do we live!.
Like a quetzal plume, a fragrant flower,
like heron plumes, it weaves itself into finery.
Our song is a bird calling out like a jingle:
how beautiful you make it sound!
Here, among flowers that enclose us,
among flowery boughs you are singing.
the earth is a grave and nothing escapes it, nothing is so perfect
that it does not descend to its tomb. Rivers, rivulets, fountains and
waters flow, but never return to their joyful beginnings; anxiously
they hasten on the vast realms of the rain god. As they widen their
banks, they also fashion the sad urn of their burial.
Filled are the bowels of the earth with pestilential dust once flesh and bone,
once animate bodies of man who sat upon thrones, decided cases, presided in
council, commanded armies, conquered provinces, possessed treasure, destroyed
temples, exulted in their pride, majesty, fortune, praise and power. Vanished
are these glories, just as the fearful smoke vanishes that belches forth from
the infernal fires of Popocatepetl. Nothing recalls them but the written page.
We present this work in honor of the Japanese holiday, Mountain Day.
The world before my eyes is wan and wasted just like me.
The earth is decrepit, the sky stormy, all the grass withered.
No spring breeze even at this late date,
Just winter clouds swallowing up my tiny reed hut.
Crazy Cloud is a demon in Daito’s line
But he hates the hellish bickering.
What good are old koans and faded traditions?
No use complaining any more, I’ll just rely on my inner treasures.
My real dwelling
Has no pillars
And no roof either
So rain cannot soak it
And wind cannot blow it down
Every day priests minutely examine the Dharma
And endlessly chant complicated sutras.
Before doing that, though, they should learn
How to read the love letters sent by the wind and rain, the snow and moon.