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All the birds have flown up and gone

© 2006

Beth Ames Swartz
All the birds have flown up and gone
acrylic and paste on canvas
36 " x 48" (0.91m x 1.22m)

Words in blue visible in painted frame; words around moon in red.

Li Bai (701 - 762 A.C.E., Chinese); also Romanized Li Po.

All the birds have flown up and gone;  
A lonely cloud floats leisurely by.
We never tire of looking at each other
Only the mountain and I.

Seaton, Jerome P. and Maloney, Dennis, eds. A Drifting Boat, White Pine Press. All poems translated by Sam Hamill from Midnight Flute, Shambala Centaur Editions, 1994 (ISBN: 0877739137)

The poem also appears as Zazen on Ching-t'ing Mountain in the table of contents for The Poetry of Zen, edited and translated by Sam Hamill and J. P. Seaton. Boston: Shambala Publications, 1994 (ISBN 1-57062-863-7)

An unascribed translation of the same poem upon which Sam Hamill's translation (of Zazen on the Mountain ) appears in BASID #686.

The words circling the moon in #687 are the same as appear in the frame of #686; note, the two versions have significant difference in their poetic implications.

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.