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As the resident poet at EcoHealth, my verse finds inspiration these days in the spectre of global pandemics. At LMU Munich's Amerika-Institut, where I tutor composition and poetics, I'm anatomizing the sonnets of E. A. Robinson for my dissertation. I also teach at Münchner Volkshochschule and Amerikahaus.

20160608

Mu Ch'i's Persimmons

by Gary Snyder

There is no remedy for satisfying hunger other than a painted rice cake.
Dōgen, November 1242

On a back wall down the hall
lit by a side glass door
is the scroll of Mu Ch'i's great
sumi painting, "persimmons"
The wind-weights hanging from the
axles hold it still.
The best in the world, I say,
of persimmons.
Perfect statement of emptiness
no other than form
the twig and the stalk still on,
the way they sell them in the
market even now.
The original's in Kyoto at a
lovely Rinzai temple where they
show it once a year
this one's a perfect copy from Benrido
I chose the mounting elements myself
with the advice of the mounter
I hang it every fall.
And now, to these over-ripe persimmons
from Mike and Barbara's orchard.
Napkin in hand,
I bend over the sink
suck the sweet orange goop
that's how I like it
gripping a little twig
those painted persimmons
sure cure hunger



"Six Persimmons," Muqi Fachang (牧溪法常), c. 1210-1269    

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