in the air

tree with a fruit ©papa osmubal

tree with a fruit ©papa osmubal

in the air

li sen

                      translated by wang hao and steve schroeder

in the air, thought scatters
like clouds higher
than the perch of the owl
I see one mandarin tree
heavy with golden mandarins
ripe mandarins
old leaves
summer ends
I finally understand
one must be like the mandarin tree
grow leaves, bear fruit
to endure summer

in the air, anger turns to nothing
anger is not thunder
not a prison window
at the still quiet riverside
I see mountains of pebbles and sand
washed up by water
make islands
I finally understand
if serene under water
one will be washed up
when the time comes


teachings of the buddha

buddha ©papa osmubal

buddha ©papa osmubal

teachings of the buddha

li sen

                           translated by wang hao and steve schroeder

study endless sutras, scan ageless prayer flags
wash the stained root of wisdom, too much knowledge
for a latecomer’s basket to bear
use a basket to measure the sea
too late, for others have made the basket
he will use it still to measure the sea
but the sea is immeasurable
still, the book says to measure the sea in a basket
Buddha’s teaching boundless, boundless the sea
the key is a latecomer bound
to use a basket to measure the sea
bound to die, joy and sadness mingling
because at least he has a basket


grazing©papa osmubal

grazing©papa osmubal


li sen

translated by wang hao and steve schroeder

earth slowly
whirling over
the world’s
highest land
each and every patch
of quiet marsh grass
mines of autumn
grain upon grain of gold
all at once
continuous snowy peaks
conspicuously bright—
luminous pattern is this,
imagined when
the world was fashioned
from the void?
the public has already forgotten
that ordinary artist

right at this moment
I see
a vast snowfield
in the heartland of Tibet
I forever praise
the places
of the gods’ activity
I am busy
at trifles
most of the time
it is far beyond
the limit of my vision
nor does it remain
in my heart
under lonesome
eagle’s wings

I recall
countless dozing
tigers, huge
white stripes snow
yellow bodies
grass and trees
shadows of clouds

last night
the crowd of lonely tigers
disappeared in
distant silent moonlight
they did not again
wake in
that eternal light
until sunrise

I see
them at the ends of the earth
white fangs bared
then again see
iron forged heads
buried in clouds

I think to myself
when those tigers
open their eyes
they will see
how tiny
I appear
and will see
the eagle that soars in my heart
flies far away from
living creatures under the iron curtain
flies away
from my cold heart

But I know
my weak palm
can never stroke
their back
I cannot touch
the stripes on the tigers
as I cannot touch
a sunbeam
cast onto a sunflower

when they close
their watching eyes
as sun sets
and their forms
gradually disappear
my soul
like another
that draws its wings together in the air
from eternal height
loses flight
loses in heart and soul
the transient
field of snow
until the empty dark
life makes
shows itself
dead silence in stone