Wednesday, November 5, 2008


How to Go to the Tao Temple


Don’t lock the door.
Go lightly like the leaf in the breeze
along the dawn’s valley.
If you are too fair,
cover yourself with ash.
If too clever, go half-asleep.
That which is fast
will tire fast :
be slow, slow as stillness.

Be formless like water.
Lie low,don’t even try to go up.
Don’t go round the deity :
nothingness has no directions,
no front nor back.
Don’t call it by name,
its name has no name.
No offerings: empty pots
are easier to carry than full ones.
No prayers too: desires
have no place here.

Speak silently, if speak you must:
like the rock speaking to the trees
and leaves to flowers.
Silence is the sweetest of voices
and Nothingness has
the fairest of colours.
Let none see you coming
and none, going.
Cross the threshold shrunken
like one crossing a river in winter.
You have only a moment here
like the melting snow.

No pride: you are not even formed.
No anger: not even dust
is at your command.
No sorrow: it doesn’t alter anything.
Renounce greatness:
there is no other way to be great.
Don’t ever use your hands:
They are contempalting
not love ,but vilolence.
Let the fish lie in its water
and the fruit, on its bough.
The soft one shall survive the hard,
like the tongue that survives teeth.
Only the one who does nothing
can do everything.

Go, the unmade idol
awaits you.

(Translated from the Malayalam by the poet)

1 comment:

alakananda said...

came here via bvn's blog where he has posted his own translation of your poem. i would feel like a poseur if i attempt to comment on your work...
all i can say is that i enjoyed it...immensely. it felt like a soothing balm. i shall definitely be reading up more of yours. thank you.