Hide in the dark bamboo.
Strum a song I can whistle to—
So deep no one knows who you’re with,
Except the moon, shining too.
A Place Named for Deer
No one but mountains,
Yet voices are exchanged:
Sun, setting, enters the forest,
Igniting green, itself as moss.
The eighth-century poet and landscape painter Wang Wei is considered China’s first great Zen poet, having written poems expressing the Buddhist views of the scholar-official class. As a painter, Wang Wei is credited with first conveying the inner experience of a setting; as a poet, he is revered for his concise, natural scenes utilizing spare images. While none of his paintings have survived the centuries, at least four hundred of his poems can be read today.
Billy Merrell is the author of Talking In The Dark and co-editor of The Full Spectrum, which received a Lambda Literary Award. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the anthologies Best Gay Poetry 2008, Divining Divas, A Face to Meet the Faces, and others. He serves as Web Developer for “Poets.org”:http://poets.org, the website of the Academy of American Poets.
Homepage photograph via Flickr by miyukiutada