Twenty-five Figures I

Bite your middle finger
  with your fist clenched.

On the saddle,
  no man;
Underneath it,
  no horse.

How many times have I
  entered for You
    the green dragon’s cave?

I’ve seen through you
  already.

Each time you show it,
  each time
    it’s new.

Run five hundred miles
  —in one breath—
Without turning
  your head.

One phrase
  after another…
Each moment
  refreshing.

See all
  at one sight
As if in a great
  round mirror.

One
  coffin,
Two
  corpses.

An inch of
  tortoise hair weighs
    seven pounds.

Shouldering the plank
  —till death.

A crash of thunder
  opens
    the crown of the head
Revealing
  Original
    Man.

One light,
  a million lights,
Light, light—
  no limit.

One true man
  of no rank.

Pity! This
  vessel
Meets
  no one to fill it.

The sweet
  swordblade
    of a lady’s smile
Shreds a man’s bowels
  inch
    by inch.

Eyes wide, enter
  the boiling water
    —with dignity!

From outside the shoes,
  to scratch where you itch.

Bring back
  the dead!
Kill
  the living!

Jump out
  of the word-twined
    cave.

Gouge out
  every man’s
    eyes!

To open eyes wide, lying
  in the coffin.

Eyes
  southeast,
Mind
  northwest.

To bounce a ball
  on the rapids.

Grab the tiger’s tail,
  riding its head.

Translated by Sōiku Shigematsu

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