..........He was a wise man who invented beer. ~Plato..................
.......[ Juicy Tree ; Short's Brewing (Bellaire, MI) ]
There's a pond, a man said,
Far back in these woods,
Birds and deer know about
And slake their thirst there
In a water so cold and clear,
It's like a brand-new mirror
No one had a chance to look at yet,
Save, perhaps, that little boy,
Who went missing years ago,
And may've drowned in it,
Or left some trace of himself
Playing along its rocky edges.
I better go and find out,
This very night, I said to myself,
With my mind running wild,
And the moon out there so bright.
Always it’s cold on this mountain!
Every year, and not just this.
Dense peaks, thick with snow.
Black pine-trees breathing mist.
It’s summer before the grass grows,
Not yet autumn when the leaves fall.
Full of illusions, I roam here,
Gaze and gaze, but can’t see the sky.
Getting out of bed, Han-Shan
Falls flat on his back between the bed
And the bureau for the second time in a week.
He lies breathless, feeling no dismay, only
A sense of expectation confirmed: “I’m
Developing an intimacy with the earth,
The old leveler,” he says, getting his breath
Back. “The world keeps going for my head,
The love of one sphere for another,” he
Supposes. “With heaven kicked out of the way.”
He smiles at the egregious metaphor
And climbs the bedpost to a new erection,
But tempted to slide down again. Stepping
Gingerly, he makes his way to the kitchen,
Wondering how many more falls he will be
Obliged to take before he is forced
To accept the stance and keep to the level.
Each morning before he gets up
To feed the chickens and milk the cow,
Han-Shan, propped among pillows, studies
The map of nameless places and lost
Addresses he keeps in his head:
He might as well consult the veins
On the back of his gnarled hand
Or count the rows of hair
As if they were tree-lined avenues,
So little information they give.
Somewhere in the maze of twists
And turns that leads his mind nowhere,
There is a valley of melons
And groves of plum trees:
Somewhere between the mountains.
Farther, at the foot of an abrupt
Plateau, there are plats of yellow
Poppies that vie for attention:
But where? In what precinct?
And where, in what latitude,
Under the first snow of the season,
Stand the young chestnut trees
That make so viable a plantation?
Where the venue of chestnut-fall?
If there were only a fingerpost
Or marked stone on the river-road
To go by! If only he could remember
The man who gave him directions
With an ivory-ringed hand.
Mists open and close like swept
Curtains, denying further inspection:
At the barn the young calf pleads
To be turned in with its mother.
The old mare drums a door
With impatient hooves.
There is a sudden outcry
Amount the white hens.
First light is not the time
To reckon foreign geographies.
Or tabulate the years in an age.
Yet as his feet grope in bedside
Darkness for his scattered shoes,
Han-Shan wonders if in that other
Realm the wheatfield is still on fire.