Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Han-shan: Like a Blind Man

(Sunrise from Daufuskie Island)
A certain scholar named Mr. Wang
Was laughing at my poems for being so clumsy.
"Don't you know you can't have two accents here?
And this line has too many beats.
You don't seem to understand meter at all
But toss in any word that comes to mind!"
I laugh too, Mr. Wang, when you make a poem,
Like a blind man trying to sing of the sun.

       --Han-shan, trans. Burton Watson


  1. I don't understand meter until now ~ I like it best when poetry is actually unstructured ~

  2. I actually enjoy working on poetry forms, but there are times when the form needs to be tossed--or rather, let the meaning determine the form. I do obsess about line breaks sometimes, even in free verse form!