Monday, July 07, 2008

It's just too much!

It's just too much!
Originally uploaded by jhhymas

Well, I have to put up the last one! Right now, I am looking for the picture I want to use with a poem from Gu Cheng. Many years ago when the "Misty Poets" were touring with Carolyn Kizer, I heard him read at San Jose State with Shu Ting and Bei Dao, and another Misty Poet whose name I can't pull up right now.
Gu Cheng was wearing a hat which looked like it might have been made from one of the starched and cut off legs of a pair of jeans. The part over his forehead was fringed by pulling away the indigo threads and revealing the white ones. I didn't really pay too much attention to it until a young person in the audience asked if he could ger one like it.

The moment of his answer was emotionally striking far beyond what this bald recital of it sounds like. Gu Cheng told him that he had made his hat, that he would not make one for the student and that the student should make his own. This struck me with force, I still cannot really explain why.

I mulled this over, and have never forgotten it. Last year I wrote this haiku based on that brief exchange I heard on a evening so long ago.

insect eggs on a leaf—
Gu Cheng said: I made my hat
you must make your own

I just got the book Sea of Dreams; the selected writings of Gu Cheng in the mail today. The image on the front cover is of Gu Cheng IN HIS HAT! If I get the poem up tonight this will be some kind of posting record for me . . .

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