Written on the Wall of West Forest Temple by Su Shi


Written on the Wall of West Forest Temple
by Su Shi

translated by Burton Weston

From the side, a whole range; from the end, a single peak:
Far, near, high, low, no two parts alike.
Why can’t I tell the true shape of Lushan?
Because I myself am in the mountain.

PHOTO: Fog curls around the peaks of Mt Lu (Lushan) in Jiangxi province, China. The trees are Huangshan Pine. Photo by pfcdayelise, used by permission.

NOTE: Mount Lu or Lushan situated in the northern part of Jiangxi province in Central China, is one of the most renowned mountains in the country. Its highest point reaches close to 5,000 feet above sea level, towering above clouds that encompass the mountain for about 200 days each year. Mount Lu is known for its grandeur, steepness, and beauty, and is part of Lushan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Su Shi (1037-1101) is one of the most accomplished figures in classical Chinese literature for his poems, lyrics, prose, and essays. His prose writings contribute to the understanding of topics such as 11th-century Chinese travel literature. His poetry has a long history of popularity and influence in China, Japan, and other nearby areas, and is well known in the English-speaking world through translations by Arthur Waley, among others.

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