January 26th, 2018

Truly the Southland is ruled by heat
sweet olive illuminates the mountains in winter
copper ridges shimmer in emerald streams
rock ledges are washed by vermillion springs

for worthies in search of seclusion
or those who would build a retreat
the trails are dangerous beyond measure
impossible paths that transit the sky

as I climbed the highest peak
I felt like a soaring cloud
but I found no sign of immortals
the Cinnabar Hills were an empty trap
of diagrams and texts there were none

no inscriptions passed down in stone
no trace of a hundred generations
of a thousand years nothing remained
and yet I was bent on transcendence

on bathing in the moonlight
and splashing in the streams
they provided a brief indulgence
but not like it did for the ancients

Hsieh Ling-yun (385-433)