XV. 2. A Dream of T’ien-mu Mountain
(Part of a Poem in Irregular Metre.)
On through the night I flew, high over the Mirror Lake. The lake-moon cast my shadow on the waves and travelled with me to the stream of Shan. The Lord Hsieh’s* lodging-place was still there. The blue waters rippled; the cry of the apes was shrill. I shod my feet with the shoes of the Lord Hsieh and “climbed to Heaven on a ladder of dark clouds.”** Half-way up, I saw the unrisen sun hiding behind the sea and heard the Cock of Heaven crowing in the sky. By a thousand broken paths I twisted and turned from crag to crag. My eyes grew dim. I clutched at the rocks, and all was dark.
The roaring of bears and the singing of dragons echoed amid the stones and streams. The darkness of deep woods made me afraid. I trembled at the storied cliffs.
The clouds hung dark, as though they would rain; the air was dim with the spray of rushing waters.
Lightning flashed: thunder roared. Peaks and ridges tottered and broke. Suddenly the walls of the hollow where I stood sundered with a crash, and I looked down on a bottomless void of blue, where the sun and moon gleamed on a terrace of silver and gold.
A host of Beings descended—Cloud-spirits, whose coats were made of rainbow and the horses they rode on were the winds.
Skyscape photography at sunset on 63rd day of self isolation Nikon D750 f/8 1/100s 190 mm 400 ISO edited: Capture One 20 & Photoshop
The Poet Li Po, by Arthur Waley and Bai Li The Project Gutenberg ebook
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*Hsieh Ling-yün (circa a.d. 400) was a famous mountain-climber who invented special mountain-climbing shoes.
**A quotation from one of Hsieh’s poems.
2 replies to “a ladder of dark clouds”
Amazing shot Brenda.
Thank you, Rupali.
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