A Favorite Zen Poem

Just wanted to share one of my favorite poems.


Crimson-weave carpet,

silk reeled off select cocoons and boiled in clear water,
sun-bleached and steeped in dyes of crimdigo flower,

dyes turning thread crimson, indigo depths of crimson,
then woven to grace the Hall of Widespread Fragrance.

The Hall of Widespread Fragrance is a hundred feet long,
and the carpet's crimson weave will stretch end to end,

its iridescence soft and deep, its fragrance everywhere,
plush weave and mirage blossoms beyond all compare,

awaiting beautiful women who come to sing and dance,
gauze stockings and embroidered slippers sinking deep.

Even those carpets from T'ai-yuan seem stiff and rough,
and Ch'eng-tu rugs thin, their embroidered flowers cold:

they'll never compare to these, so warm and sumptuous
and sent each year from Hsuan-chou in the tenth month.

Hsuan-chou's grand Prefect orders a new pattern woven,
saying they'll spare no effort on the emperor's behalf,

and then a hundred reverent men haul it into place,
the weave so thick and silk so lavish it can't be rolled up.

Can you fathom what it means, O prefect of Hsuan-chou:
for ten feet of carpet
a thousand taels of silk?

Floors don't feel the cold- people do.  People need warmth.
No more floors dressed in clothes stolen from the people.

--Po Chu-I (772-846AD)