Mountain of Bliss

Steve's email included a Swiss banknote
showing Giacometti's Walking Man
since he knew about my Lambda poems.

If 100 symbolizes perfection,
the Swiss got it right on their banknote,
as the Platonic Lambda or Soul is perfect.

Searching through Google for a larger
image of this banknote, I find none at
Swiss National Bank or

but browsing through China's currency,
I find a 1914 One Dollar banknote
showing an eagle on top of a globe.

On the reverse amidst floral borders
is a window to another world—
and suddenly my mind is whisked

away in reverie— gone, gone, gone
on that sampan boat in calm waters
sailing for the shoreline where I meet

the poets Wang Wei and Su Tung-po
in their huts. We walk to the pagoda
for some pine nuts and ginseng tea

before climbing the hillside path up
the trails that Li Po and Tu Fu
embarked many blue moons ago.

A fresh breeze blows softly across
the river, music from a bamboo flute
drifts from far distant hills while

clouds glowing with edges of gold
uplift us to a hilltop shrine where
a Taoist sage treats us with a peach.

Am I now with the Immortals
riding on dragons of wind
in the Mountain of Bliss?

— Peter Y. Chou
    Mountain View, 4-18-2012

China One Dollar Banknote (1914)
Reverse: Sailing ship with huts by shoreline