Wang River Poems

Dan Veach



Reply to Vice-Magistrate Zhang

In later years seeking only tranquility

Ten thousand cares no longer touch my heart

Looking within, no plans and no ambitions

Empty of knowledge, return to the old woods again

Wind in the pines unties my robe

Mountain moon bright as I pluck the zither

You ask me the way to the ultimate truth—

The song of the fisherman reaches the distant shore

Wang Wei was friends with some of the founders of China’s
Ch’an school of Buddhism, known as Zen in Japan. The last line may be the first recorded example of a Zen koan:
a non-sequitur meant to shock the seeker out of his frame
of reference, and into a deeper meaning.

Copyright 2012 by Daniel Veach

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