What It Is Like to Read the Ancients
    David Budbill


    There was a man who left the city, went away into the mountains,
    built a cabin and lived in it.  He said nothing and saw no one, except
    an occasional friend who came to visit, eat a meal of stew, and leave.
    After a while when friends arrived they would not see the man.
    
    but they always found a pot of stew cooking on the stove, and
    since they were hungry, they ate, then waited for their friend.
    When he did not return, they left saying how sorry they were
    that they had missed him and vowed to return to see him again.
    
    Year after year the friends returned.  Each time they found the stew
    but not the man, and always they filled their bowls and ate.
    This happend two thousand years ago on a remote mountainside
    in China.  Yet even today the man's cabin remains, not far from here,
    
    clean, well kept, the woodshed full of wood, a pot of stew
    cooking on the stove.  I was there just yesterday to fill my bowl.
    

    --From Moment to Moment
    ©1999 Copper Canyon Press


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