by Robert Walton
Smooth and ancient
As a master’s tomb,
Your black jade whispers
Fall too quickly into rapids’ laughter
For me to catch the
But cliffs above,
In Confucian silks of alpenglow
Like an old man’s smile.
The day’s last light on snow
Must be Li.
‘Laoshi’ means ‘teacher’ in Mandarin.
‘Li’ – Li is both a concept and a process in Confucian philosophy. It begins with proper social behavior, especially good manners and respect for elders. If practiced, it leads to wider perceptions of nature and harmony with the universe.
Robert Walton is a retired teacher and a lifelong mountaineer. His Civil War novel, Dawn Drums, was honored by two awards: first place in the 2014 Arizona Authors Association’s literary contest and the New Mexico Book Awards Tony Hillerman Prize for best fiction. His poetry has been published in Avocet and other journals.