Shan Tung Hsuan

And on the table of his hermit cell,
Where mountain light leaned in low diagonals,
Particulars of his mantic art set out: tree-tallow, jade, yarrow, water-compass,
And paper Talismans, ribbon-tied to the post at entrance –
Almanac of all to be and not to be… 

He came in felt-soled silence;
I had not known him there
Were it not for the chatter of his tame langur,
Slender companion of his refuge, of cinnabar tufts to ears and tail,
That leaped to the master’s mantle sleeve at my turning.

I slipped my pack, sat to the moss ground at his beckoning,
Took draught of steaming cordial of osmanthus –
Since… seven years have passed, and passed, and hands of clouds…