A paper-window bamboo hut a hedge of hibiscuswormwood soup for tea when guests arrivethe poor people I meet are mostly contentrare is the rich man not vain or wastefulI move my table to read sutras by moonlightI pick wildflowers to fill my altar vaseeveryone says Tushita Heaven is finebut how can it match this place of mine
From Red Pine’s translation of Stonehouse’s (Shiwu) Mountain Poems – poem 142.
Parched wheat and pine pollen make a fine meal
vine flowers and salted bamboo make a tasty dish
when I’m exhausted I think of nothing else
let others become buddha or immortals
I also very much enjoy Red Pine’s commentary and chose this poem out of a handful of similar ones mainly for his sideline contribution. He is entirely non-traditional – at least for western philology – but utterly charming.
Pine pollen is collected in late spring or early summer. “Vine flowers” refers to wisteria blossoms, which are removed individually from each raceme and stir-fried. At the monastery in Taiwan where I lived for several years, we dined through the summer on stir-fried daylily blossoms, picked a day or two before they were due to open. Among the mountain-dwelling Aini in Yunnan province, I also enjoyed stir-fried bauhinia flowers.