South America, 2006

A poem by Yu Xuanji (843? – 868), a Taoist adept and teacher who was born in China.  Late in her life, she was forced to become a courtesan in order to support herself and was executed on a false charge of having murdered a servant.


At Home in the Summer Mountains


I’ve come to the house of the Immortals:

In every corner, wildflowers bloom.

In the front garden, trees

Offer their branches for drying clothes;

Where I eat, a wine glass can float

In the springwater’s chill.

From the portico, a hidden path

Leads to the bamboo’s darkened groves.

Cool in a summer dress, I choose

From among heaped piles of books.

Reciting poems in the moonlight, riding a painted boat…

Every place the wind carries me is home.