POEM: A WITHERED TREE

by contemplativeinquiry

Not a twig or leaf on the old tree,

Wind and frost harm it no more.

A man could pas through a hole in its belly,

Ants crawl searching under its peeling bark.

Its only lodger, the toadstool which dies in a morning,

The birds no longer visit in the twilight.

But its wood can still spark tinder.

It does not care yet to be only the void at its heart.

 

By Han Yü (768-824)

From: Poems of the Late T’ang translated from the Chinese with an introduction by A.C. Graham Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965