it is Haibun Monday today on dVerse, hosted by Frank J. Tassone. Today, we are to write about Cold Mountain – a Chinese poet from sometime in the 9th century, during the Tang Dynasty. His poetry has influenced both Zen practitioners and eastern style poets. The immediacy of his work embodies the emphasis on the present moment that defines Zen aesthetics. The Beat Poets were moths drawn to his fire. Well. That is quite the mouthful. Thankfully, Frank has not limited us to trying to become Chinese Zen Masters. His instructions are as follows:
Today, write you haibun on either one of the following options:
- A Cold Mountain: the towering heights, frigid temperatures, majestic views, or existential challenges of a mountain. You could even go metaphorical, describing the cold mountain of overwhelming circumstances, or how we make mountains out of mole hills.
- The Cold Mountain: a haibun that follows the influence of Hanshan (Cold Mountain), with his immediacy, concern for humanity, and deep devotion to nature.
I knew a man who believed he could climb any mountain. And he did. Life was never a walk in the park. A difficult childhood, a substance addiction, a near bankruptcy, were all stepping stones for him. He always made the choice to live. He cleaned himself up, he paid his debts, and he worked his way up from sweeping floors to fixing machinery to designing to owning his own company. An autodidact who didn’t understand the word quit.
Some mountains are harder and colder to climb than others. And some, you cannot reach the top, no matter how much you desire it.
No challenge too great
When you believe in yourself
Until breath runs out