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. The site consists of both a point of contact for my profession as a counselor and collection of poems and photographs that result from part of my self-care practice.
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 sometimes referred to as “shahai” derived from the first syllable of the Japanese “shashin” (sha 写 – photograph) along with the first syllable of “haiku” (hai 俳 – playful).