Zen is poetry, poetry is Zen…From earliest times thinkers must have perceived that on the one hand they could not think without words; on the other hand, words expressed only half the whole truth. – Frederick Franck (Zen and Zen Classics)

Mountain Poetry is named after some of the ancient Chan (Zen) Mountain Poets of China such as Stonehouse or Shiwu (1272–1352),  the 9th Century Tiantai Trio comprised of Cold Mountain or Hanshan , Big Stick or Fenggan, and Pick-up  or Shide,  Chuang Tzu, of course, and their modern day descendants in R.H. Blythe, Thomas Merton, Gary Snyder, Paul Reps, Burton Watson, and Red Pine among others. The site consists of collected poems, photographs, and a Zen Community Discussion Forum.

The pieces you find here are written in haiku (traditionally 5,7,5 but often shorter), senryu (haiku about human nature), tanka (5,7,5,7,7 or some close variation thereof), haibun (free form poetry capped with a haiku), and other forms that have been broadly entitled “mountain poems”. Many mountain poems follow a repeated syllable structure emulating the “songs” of the Chinese Zen hermits.

These original poems along with images reflect the haiga tradition of sumi painting and the work of a wide variety of Indian, Chinese, and Japanese philosophers and poets. The combination of photography and poetry found here is commonly known as “shahai” derived from the first syllable of the Japanese “shashin” (sha 写 – photograph) along with the first syllable of “haiku” (hai 俳 – playful).

Please consider joining the discussion on the forum and sharing your poetry and imagery to be published as part of this collection. You will be credited and will maintain ownership of your work. (Contact Here)