Someone lives in a mountain gorge

by Han-shan (Cold Mountain)

English version by Red Pine
Original Language Chinese

Someone lives in a mountain gorge
cloud robe and sunset tassels
holding sweet plants he would share
but the road is long and hard
burdened by regrets and doubts
old and unaccomplished
called by others crippled
he stands alone steadfast

-- from The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, Translated by Red Pine

<<Previous Poem | More Poems by Han-shan (Cold Mountain) | Next Poem >>

View All Poems by Han-shan (Cold Mountain)

Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

The "someone" is, of course, Han Shan himself, the hermit and sage. The sweet plants he would share are the quiet wisdom he has gathered which offer the sweetness of meditative ecstasy.

But few come to him to receive what he has to offer. The road to reach him is "long and hard." You can only make the journey by facing "regrets and doubts," carrying them courageously rather than endlessly evading them.

Daunted by such impediments, most seekers then tell themselves that the sage is no sage at all, just an old man, who has wasted his life in inactivity rather than gaining socially approved accomplishments. He is crippled.

Who then comes. The sage "stands alone steadfast" appreciating his treasures in solitude.

Recommended Books: Han-shan (Cold Mountain)

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhala Library) The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain A Drifting Boat: Chinese Zen Poetry
More Books >>

Someone lives in a