How Near to Fairyland

- 1875-1947

The spring warmth steals into me, drying up all the tears of my soul,
And gives me a flight into the vastness,—into a floorless, unroofed reverie-hall.

Lo, such greenness, such velvety greenness, such a heaven without heaven above!
Lo, again, such grayness, such velvety grayness, such an earth without earth below!
My soul sails through the waveless mirror-seas.

Oh, how near to Fairyland!
Blow, blow, gust of wind!
Sweep away my soul-boat against that very shore!

At Night

At night the Universe grows lean, sober-
faced, of intoxication,
The shadow of the half-sphere curtains
down closely against my world, like a 
doorless cage, and the stillness chained by
wrinkled darkness strains throughout the Uni-
verse to be free. 
Listen, frogs in the pond, (the world is a pond itself)
     cry out for the light, for the truth!
The curtains rattle ghostlily along, bloodily biting
     my soul, the winds knocking on my cabin door
     with their shadowy hands.

To an Unknown Poet

When I am lost in the deep body of the
mist on the hill, 
The world seems built with me as its
pillar!
Am I the god upon the face of the deep, deepless
deepness in the Beginning?

I Hear You Call, Pine Tree

       I hear you call, pine tree, I hear you upon the hill, by the silent                 pond
where the lotus flowers bloom, I hear you call, pine tree.
       What is it you call, pine tree, when the rain falls, when the                       winds
blow, and when the stars appear, what is it you call, pine tree?
       I hear you call, pine tree, but I am blind, and do not know                         how to
reach you, pine tree. Who will take me to you, pine tree?

Related Poems

A Dream of T'ien-mu Mountain

Speak of the Blessed Islands men from the Ocean’s brim.
Truth is hid in their endless billows and mist-wreaths dim.
Tell of the T’ien-mu Mountain men in the land of Yore,
Seen there, when rainbows scatter, and clouds conceal no more!
Reaching up to the zenith, the skyline it seems to fill,
Huge like the Sacred Mountains piled over Ch’ihch’eng Hill.
T’ien-t’ai Mountain is fifty myriads of feet in height,
Crushing, about to fall, soaring in awful might!
Seeing, I longed to dream of Wu and the land of Yore:
Flew one night on a moonbeam over the Mirror’s shore.
Moon, that reflected my shadow dark on the lake below,
Carried me thence to Yen-ch’i, land that the spirits know.
Place where the ancient Hsieh dwelt is yet to be seen.
Gibbons howl by the water dimpling so purely green.
Bound on my feet the clogs were used by Hsieh of old,
Mounting the dun clouds ladder, halfway up I behold
Sea and Sun; and I hear mystic carols in Space.
Crags and hollows commingled, hard is the road to trace.
Flower-drugged, I lean on a rock. Lo! Night her shadow flings!
Bears’ roars and dragons’ bellowings boom over rocks and springs!
Startled, how forests quake on ridge over ridge of crags!
Black are the sombre clouds, waiting the rain to pour.
Placid the water still; above it the mist wraith lags.
Flash! and the hollow hills blasting the lightning tore.
Crash! and the stone gates burst of the vaulted sky in twain.
Boundless those azure spaces; end is there none in view.
Sunlight and moonbeams commingle golden and silver hue.
Clad in rainbows, and mounted on coursers of rapid wind,
Lords of the clouds come trooping; and trooping more behind.
Tiger roar of the drums, psalteries’ oriole note.
Orderly mixing disorder, crowding the genii float.
Suddenly feared my soul; twanging my spirit leapt.
Startled and trembling sprang I. Sorely I sighed and wept,
Feeling that I was awake; that it was but a dream now past.
Gone all those roseate hues the mist-wreaths had mingled last!
Thus are the joys of life! for all things pass away.
Streamlike flowing a-down, old Time will never stay.
Now, as I bid you farewell, when will you turn again,
Over the verdant mountains loosing the White Deer’s rein?
Wishing to go, we ride it seeking the famous hills….
Eyes must I bow, and body bending, submit to serve
Rich and powerful below, where never I may deserve
Happy a thought to think, or carelessly laugh at ills?

The Enkindled Spring

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.

And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, a shadow that's gone astray, and is lost.

An Hymn to the Evening

Soon as the sun forsook the eastern main
The pealing thunder shook the heav’nly plain;
Majestic grandeur! From the zephyr’s wing,
Exhales the incense of the blooming spring,
Soft purl the streams, the birds renew their notes,
And through the air their mingled music floats.
   Through all the heav’ns what beauteous dies are spread!
But the west glories in the deepest red:
So may our breasts with every virtue glow,
The living temples of our God below!
   Fill’d with the praise of him who gives the light,
And draws the sable curtains of the night,
Let placid slumbers soothe each weary mind,
At morn to wake more heav’nly, more refin’d;
So shall the labors of the day begin
More pure, more guarded from the snares of sin.
   Night’s leaden sceptre seals my drowsy eyes,
Then cease, my song, till fair Aurora rise.