The Breath of Nature

Breath of Nature – The Way of Change Tzu (Thomas Merton)

When great nature sighs, we hear the winds

Which, noiseless in themselves

Awaken voices from other beings

Blowing on them.

Loud voices sound.  Have you not heard

This rush of tones?

 

There stands the overhanging wood

On the steep mountain:

Old trees with holes and cracks

Like snouts, maws, and ears,

Like beam-sockets, like goblets,

Grooves in the wood, hollows full of water:

You hear mooing and roaring, whistling,

Shouts of command, grumblings,

Deep drones, sad flutes.

One call awakens another in dialogue.

Gentle winds sing timidly,

Strong ones blast on without restraint.

Then the wind dies down.  The openings

Empty out their last sound.

Have you not observed how all then trembles and subsides?

 

Yu replied: I understand:

The music of earth sings through a thousand holes.

The music of man is made on flutes and instruments.

What makes the music of heaven?

Master Ki said:

Something is blowing on a thousand different holes.

Some power stands behind all this and makes the sound die down.

What is this power?

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