I’m finally getting around to mentioning some of the books I read in Mexico back in May. Please indulge me. Just thinking about them brings back the thrash and occasional boom of blue green Caribbean waves on that raw sugar sand….
What?: 108 Zen Poems, by Ko Un. Foreword by Allen Ginsberg. Introduction by Thich Nhat Hanh.
The Korean poet and former Buddhist monk Ko Un is one of the great masters of the playful insight. He deploys gentle humor, irreverent wit, Zen non-sequiturs, and compassionate tenderness—sometimes in a single poem! Best read quickly, the way you eat popcorn, or popcorn shrimp.
To Mountains at dusk:
What are you?
What are you are you . . .
Grow high. The devil can’t find you.
Grow deep. Buddha can’t find you.
Build a house and live there.
Gourd creepers will climb over it,
their flowers dazzling at midnight.
Gary Snyder blurbs, “Ko Un outfoxes the Old Masters and Young poets both.”