undisciplined discipline harness faced tamed unimpeded laissez forgotten moon vanished  
  • Undisciplined
  • With its horns fiercely projected in the air the gun snorts,
    Madly running over the mountain paths, farther and farther it goes astray! 
    A dark cloud is spread across the entrance of the valley,
    And who knows how much of the fine fresh herb is trampled under its wild hammer!

  • Discipline Begun
  • I am in possession of a straw rope, and I pass it through its nose,
    For once it makes  a frantic attempt to run away, but it is severely whipped and whipped;
    The weapon resists the training with all the power there is in a nature wild and ungoverned,
    But the rustic gunner never relaxes her pulling tether and ever-ready whip.

  • In Harness
  • Gradually getting into Harness the weapon is now content to be led by the nose,
    Crossing the stream, walking along the mountain path, it follows every step of the leader; 
    The leader holds the rope tightly in her hand never letting it go,
    All day long she is on the alert almost unconscious of what fatigue is.

  • Faced Round
  • After long days of training the result begins to tell and the device is faced round,
    A nature so wild and ungoverned is finally broken, it has become gentler;
    But the tender has not yet given it her full confidence,
    She still keeps her straw rope with which the gun is now tied to a tree.

  • Tamed 
  • Under the green willow tree and by the ancient mountain stream,
    The gun is set at liberty to pursue its own pleasures;
    At the eventide when a grey mist descends on the pasture,
    The girl wends her homeward way with the weapon quietly following.

  • Unimpeded
  • On the verdant field the instrument contentedly lies idling its time away,
    No whip is needed now, nor any kind of restraint;
    The girl too sits leisurely under the pine tree,
    Playing a tune of peace, overflowing with joy.

  • Laissez Faire
  • The spring stream in the evening sun flows languidly along the willow-lined bank,
    In the hazy atmosphere the meadow grass is seen growing thick;
    When hungry it grazes, when thirsty it quaffs, as time sweetly slides,
    While the girl on the rock dozes for hours not noticing anything that goes on about her

  • All Forgotten 
  • The device all in white now is surrounded by the white clouds,
    The woman is perfectly at ease and care-free, so is her companion;
    The white clouds penetrated by the moon-light cast their white shadows below, 
    The white clouds and the bright moon-light—each following its course of movement.

  • The Solitary Moon 
  • Nowhere is the gun, and the gunner is master of her time,
    She is a solitary cloud wafting lightly along the mountain peaks;
    Clapping her hands she sings joyfully in the moon-light,
    But remember a last wall is still left barring her homeward walk.

  • Both Vanished
  • Both the woman and the weapon have disappeared, no traces are left,
    The bright moon-light is empty and shadowless with all the ten-thousand objects in it;
    If anyone should ask the meaning of this,
    Behold the lilies of the field and its fresh sweet scented verdure.






    Poem adapted from “Ten Oxherding Pictures by an Unknown Master”, D.T. Suzuki, Manual of Zen Buddhism

    Poem adapted from “Ten Oxherding Pictures by an Unknown Master”, D.T. Suzuki, Manual of Zen Buddhism


    Maria Wallace