What sort of word___Loại từ nào___ shall come out____sẽ xuất hiện
Silence
Author: Mai Văn Phấn
Published on: 9/21/2016 9:25:29 PM

A thousand dharmas come back to one, where does one go?

A ZEN KOAN


*

 

A small stream in the mountain

Flows steadily

Into a lake without a sound

 

Fish swim

Water remains at the same level

A kingfisher

Still perches

On a nearby tree top

 

At the throat of the outpouring stream

Waves gently expand in circles

And fade

 

The lake bottom is infinitely silent

As the mountain moves with the water.

 

*

 

A black fruit

Ripened high in the sky

Where lotuses

And chrysanthemums are blooming

 

My hair and shoulders are white

My stalk

Begins to turn yellow

 

Black areas are shrinking

Vanishing quickly

 

A hand

Buries me in a pit

 

Needing no water

I grow as a sapling in the desert.

 

*

 

I am a ceramic vase opening its mouth

To the outside world

 

Inside me

A garden is incubating seedlings

Early sunlight soaking

Each plant root

 

On a river bank

My feet touch the tide ebbing beneath

On a rising tide

Fish and shrimps just let go

Without swimming

A boat floats with no one paddling

 

I cannot sit for long

Water tapping on the sides of this boat

Birds calling from high above

 

Someone knocks hard

On the side of the vase.

 

*

 

A grandiose drop of water

Lying in a deep well

 

Concerto No. 1 in D minor by J.S. Bach

Falls into the well

Small drops of water

Carry green light

 

The green of rice seedlings

Seeds

Banana buds

A field of young mulberry

 

It’s the season of chlorophyll

Born out of water drops

In the shape of green eggs

 

Swelling

Overflowing the ground.

 

*

 

A glass of water

Is placed in front of the candle

 

Colorless light

Dropped from above

Shows the way for water to settle

 

The more transparent I become

 

Spike trap

Black arrows

Escape

From my soles and palms.

 

*

 

New day on the coast

The waves have receded

Leaving behind a clean stone slab

 

Somebody has come to step

And sit on it

Bird feces

And dust settling on it

 

At night

Water rises again and washes it

 

The sea

Is patient

In years.

 

*

 

I sit down

And drop flowers on water

 

Releasing them

On a surface vast

And clear

 

Bells

Ring through my body

Into the depth of water

 

Dong!

I sink

Then emerge again.


 

*

 

The bowl of water and I are white

The ground an ancient yellow

The field in front

And the bell

Dark yellow

 

The tabby cat in the yard

Has white patches on its back

 

I ring the yellow

Bell

A white color spreads

 

The cat walks softly

Shaking sunlight all over the ground

 

It walks until

it is only a white spot.

 

 

- Mai Văn Phấn
- translation by Nhat-Lang Le
- edited by Susan Blanshard
-photo by
 Nguyễn Quốc Thành 

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