Haiku attempt

Shuang Ta

Pagoda shadows
Cast long over stone peony;
Phoenix still in flight


1 Comment»

  elle wrote @

Haiku always start for me as a snapshot of an image. This one is looking back from the stone temple carvings to the twin pagodas of the Shuang Temple in Suzhou (nr Shanghai).

The ‘meditation’ comes from tinkering with the image so that it begins to mean more. The last two lines here reflect some of my thoughts about Taoism, which I’ve been unsurprisingly pondering while visiting Chinese temples (although Shuang is Buddhist).

The intro to my copy of the Tao Te Ching has the line “In complete stillness, the stone girl is dancing,” which has always haunted me, and is the same idea as the stone phoenix flying.

The word ‘still’ refers to the carving being very old, but also to the more metaphysical concept of flying without moving – wu wei wu. Deep huh?

Of course, the first two lines are also about sex, but what isn’t?

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