a journey
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Chang Sanfeng comes down from Wudang Mountain

by Matt Harris



Heavy backed old

Chang Sanfeng scuffs

And lumbers down

The mountainside,

Wearily, with care.


His sandals kick

Tiny landslides from

The scree, his feet

test the honesty of

solid-looking rocks


Before he trusts to

Step. A fitful path

Appears and recedes

Like a thing

Beneath the waves.


The valley below is

Full of mist, as though

The clouds have come

Down too. A group

Of envoys from


The Emperor

Pass him on their

Way uphill,

Seeking the sage.

A rearward servant nods,


The rest go by

Without a glance. He

Stumbles on a mossy

Brae; his legs are

Tired, ten thousand


Kicks, ten thousand trips

And locks. Rough knuckles,

Fingers no consistent

Shape or shade, a

Thousand cuts and breaks.


Years of practice

On the summit;

Years as hard as

Temple stone, as

Rigid as the



The jewel of a

Perfected art

Prized from a grave

Fist clenched in rock.


Giant knuckles

Trip down in

Foothills to the

Valley, where sunlight

Is dissolving


In the mist, and

There is grass now

Through the pebbles

Underfoot. It's Spring.

Finding a village


And a Tavern, he takes

A seat, removes his hat.

Pretty girls are walking

In the village, and rich

Smells pervade the air.


The sage leans back,

Puts up his feet,

Drinks deeply from

His cup of wine,

And gestures for another.



a line, (a blue one)


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