In the gloaming a faint, distant light works its way towards the forest. Illuminating fragments of the night, it disappears and then reappears, weaving its way through the leaves and the trunks. Sometime it later it returns, its flickering not interrupted as it makes its way to the base of the valley, before fading into the dust.
During the night the hermit, accompanied by his lantern looks for herbs.
Some nights the lantern is stationary, fracturing the night with its incandescence. Aside from the stars and the moonlit sky, it is the only illumination the valley has.
The hermit sits outside of his hut, watching the star river.
The lantern shadows the contours of the trout river, the light igniting the rivers path. Trout leap from the water, trying to intercept midges in the night tide. Some return to the river, others land in the net. The midges continue to follow the light.
The lantern hangs from the rafts edge as the hermit fishes for trout.
First fragment inspired by the Chia Tao poem “Seeking but not Finding the Recluse” and the third fragments influenced by a sequence in Richard Brautigan’s “In Watermelon Sugar” and many, many Meng Hao Jan poems.
Chia Tao’s poem and the Richard Brautigan extract: http://skyraftwanderer.blogspot.com/2011/04/chinese-poem-and-richard-brautigan.html
I have always pictured the Chinese countryside as being pitch dark, and imagine people do the things that they don’t want others to see them do under the cloak of night. The lanterns seem to signify control, as the hermit decides where he goes and what will be illuminated.
Reading Chia Tao’s poetry I see the influence, the master’s connection to the world is the apprentice he left behind while he does his business in the mountain top above the clouds.