Jim Chapson

Where There Is Nothing

In Hongren's "The Coming of Autumn"
a river winds through foothills
beneath imposing mountains.
The river's course is shown by absence.

Mountains and hills
a few stark trees and a small hut
defined by dry brush strokes.
Where there is nothing is the river.

Water doesn't compromise
it just gives up
and takes the easiest way
around everything,

but remains itself just the same
and gets where it is going eventually,
seeking the lowest level,
asserting only its emptiness.


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