The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®

 

Gary Young

 

A Buddha large as a mountain sits motionless, while the mountain behind it shudders in a warm breeze that rustles the pine, bamboo, and cedar clinging to its slopes.

 

 

Gary Young

 

When I stare into the well beside Buson’s grave, rain disturbs the surface of the water, and I can’t be sure whose face I see reflected there.

 

 

Gary Young

 

Two monks in white robes climb to the top of Mount Inari. They pass through 10,000 torii gates, and stop at a hundred shrines. At every shrine they empty coins from an offering box into a wooden crate that one of the monks carries on his back. For him, the walk down the mountain is harder than the walk up.

 

Gary Young

 

At the end of a narrow, cobbled lane, crows gorge on sweet fruit at the top of an orange tree, and leave nothing but an empty rind that hangs there like a waning moon.

 

 

 

GARY YOUNG teaches creative writing, and directs the Cowell Press at UC Santa Cruz. His awards include fellowships from NEA and NEH, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the William Carlos Williams Award. He is the author of several volumes of poetry, anthologies, and textbooks, including Even So: New and Selected Poems, which was published by White Pine Press. White Pine will release Precious Mirror, a book of his translations from the Japanese next year.

 

 

YANWEN XU, co-translator on these Chinese poems, was born in Xuzhou, China, but now studies and writes in Santa Cruz. The six poems in this submission were all written by Tang and Song Dynasty poets in China (and as such, are in the public domain). They are from a work-in-progress wherein we are translating a collection of ancient poetry taught in Chinese schools to aid the instruction of Mandarin and Chinese history.

 

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