A Giant Bamboo Stalk

Bamboo Grove on Ortega Ave

Touch Bamboos for Blessings

Bamboo Trees Shade Sidewalk

Bamboos for Blessings

Walking up Ortega Ave in Mountain View,
I pass by a garden of bamboo grove
whose supple stalks sway to the sidewalk
creating a patch of shade where I rest.

Leaves rustle in laughter to the wind,
sunflare pours down the upper branches,
and is the immortal Han Xiang playing
his bamboo flute bringing forth the birds?

"Three Winter Friends"— bamboos, pines, plums,
stroll through Chinese poems and paintings—
Su Tung-po says "Before painting the bamboo,
it must grow first in your innermost heart."

Wrapping my palm around a bamboo stalk,
I'm transported back in time listening to
those seven sages of the Bamboo Grove
reciting nature poems while sipping wine.

Bamboo shoots spice up Asian dishes and
are the main food source of giant pandas.
Used to make chopsticks and art brushes,
with tensile strength of steel for buildings,

Bamboo trees can grow four feet a day
like hermit scholars in continual learning.
Four bamboo stalks are leaning outward
so I clasp my hand on each in prayer—

May I be flexible yet firmly rooted,
bend and don't break under adversity.
May I be like the bamboo's hollow inside,
empty myself and let wisdom flow through.

        — Peter Y. Chou
            Mountain View, 7-30-2014

Sunflare through Bamboo Leaves

Sunflare and Bamboo Leaves

Hollow Inside of Bamboo Stalk