Watching dew evaporate in sunshine

a hermit wrapped in a threadbare coat

writes as if to his illusory self

Let everything disappear


Sitting beneath a pine

grasping his knees against howling wind

he loves his mind

crystal clear as spring water


A polar bear weakened by too far a swim

curled up in snow   wounded

by horns of walrus   themselves survivors

huddled against summer’s white Artic wind


What would make my tenacious mind

let this disappear?


Watching – in silence – fire ascending

where – in silence – her steeple bell hung

I think this is no illusion

twin towers standing and fiery collapse


Sitting by the window lush with

pink petunia   I hear his couplet

We are flowers that open in the morning

   and in the evening decline


Phyllis Stowell




Quotes from Cold Mountain

translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi & Peter Levitt

Notre Dame   April 15, 2019