Wally Swist

After Lu Chi’s Wen Fu Based on a translation by Shih-Hsiang Chen, in 1952, and then modified after consulting a translation by Sam Hamill, 1991 & 2000. Preface Should you study the masters and their work observe the essential action of their minds Their aptitude with expression how they energetically instill their words. Are all results they can attain through innumerable ways. However, what is aesthetic can be made distinct from what is ordinary, what is superior from what is only adequate. Only through the heat of writing, and then the work of revising and revising can anyone gain the cutting-edge of discernment. We can be overly concerned if our ideas do not distinguish their subjects, whether form and content are harmonious. All of this may be far too easy to begin to know; but what is puzzling is to make this practice. What is composed here is meant to be in harmony with the heart and the ear, the mind and the soul; What is Wen Fu, the art of writing, finding exemplars for exploration of what is good and bad in writing. Maybe it will be made known that one day we might write something substantive, Even something useful, even entering upon the origin of a mystery.
If you carve the handle of an axe with an axe, ostensibly the archetype is made visible. Everyone who writes discovers a new threshold into what is secret, what is not easy to explain. Nevertheless, what is set down here is clearly thought as thinking can be sheer. 1. Initial Movement Each writer is their own point at the center of their universe, scrutinizing riddle and paradox. Each are nurtured by their discoveries of past masterpieces. Each studies the four seasons, in their rapidity, they sigh Perceiving how all things are one; learning the limitlessness of the world. Each experiences leaves blown away by the autumn winds; Each esteems the innumerable blossoms of spring. The first frosts of autumn sends a shiver up the spine and through the heart; The clouds of summer inspire the spirit to rise as they pass in the sky. Memorize the classics; pay homage to the clarity of the virtuous masters. Prospect the treasure in the classics that speak to you; where form and content originate. Moved as such, then lay aside your books, take pen in hand to begin to compose. The Bark I am walking into the barn with the recycling, whenmy landlord's Rottweiler, Davis, begins barking at me from his pen. Davis has aged since I first moved into the farmhouse years ago, and nearly never barks at me anymore. However, as Davis is barking at me with vehemence, I lose all sense of myself being in my body in the flash of a single moment; and what I experience is not shock, a sudden surprise, or even anger or awe. I become Davis's bark, then another bark, and all the barking itself. The barking is holy, and there is holiness in the barking. There is no separation. All is One. Before I slip back into my separate consciousness, my becoming a dog's loud barking, then a soundless bark—everything instantly, timelessly, becomes one and no thing at all. Wally Swist’s books include Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012), selected by Yusef Komunyakaa as co-winner in the 2011 Crab Orchard Series Open Poetry Contest, and A Bird Who Seems to Know Me: Poems Regarding Birds & Nature (Ex Ophidia Press, 2019), the winner of the 2018 Ex Ophidia Press Poetry Prize.
His recent poems have or will appear in Commonweal, Rattle, and Transference: A Literary Journal Featuring the Art & Process of Translation.
Recent books include The Bees of the Invisible (2019) and Evanescence: Selected Poems (2020), both with Shanti Arts.