Twenty-five Figures III

The heavens are filled
  with the stink of shit.

The stink of shit
  wraps him up.

To spear one’s own brain
  and put it in a basin.

Hard to realize it’s
  the stink of his own shit!

Ears listen
  like a deaf man;
Mouths talk
  like a dumb man.

One-foot-two eyebrows
  sprout
    under the chin.

Straighten upright
  your iron backbone!

To waste all day
  in the busy town,
Forgetting the treasure
  in his own house.

Open your hands—
  ten fingertips,
    eight crotches.

In the eyes
  of a flea’s flea,
    open a fair!
On the tongue
  of a tiger,
    sit in a swing!

Mind eye, burning bright,
  looks like the moon.

Walk forward—
  you’ll fall in a pit!
Step back—
  an angry tiger eats your feet!

In the needle’s shadow:
  ride
    the giant roc
And push the moon leisurely
  down
    from the sky.

Turn
  a somersault
    on a needle point.

Knock on the sky
  and listen to the sound!

Where yes and no
  cross—
Even saints
  cannot understand.

Leave out yes!
Cut out no!

In a flint spark,
  discern
    black and white;
In a lightning flash,
  talk all about
    the whole happening.

Much quicker than
  a spark from flint;
Much faster than
  a flash of lightning.

Climb barefoot
  a mountain of swords!
Enter the fire
  wearing fur!

One-handed
  clapping.

Stone men whisper
  in each other’s ear.

Once you preach,
  the point
    is gone.

Right now
  in front,
Next minute
  behind.

Gingerly, carefully
  look in the abyss;
Walk
  on thin ice.

Translated by Sōiku Shigematsu

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