Interpreting poetry is a dirty business. Understanding why it affected you is not so bad. Here’s another verse that woke me up the other day.
Korean Zen preceptor Naong (1320-1376):
With the true emptiness of nonaction,
I nap on a stone pillow among rocks.
Do you ask me what is my power?
A single tattered robe through life.
What is about these four lines? What did I see in this? A couple of thoughts:
1. We are restless creatures. We keep optimizing. We keep trying to get comfortable. But here, a fellow mind naps on a stone pillow among rocks. How is this possible? How can you be comfortable amidst such discomfort? By realizing that “with the true emptiness of nonaction” discomfort passes on its own. By realizing that there is neither the sleeper nor the stone pillow to sleep on. By realizing that all solidity is a dream.
2. We seek power. We aggrandize ourselves. We accrue. But here’s a fellow mind pursuing a different path, living a life in which “a single tattered robe” is enough. There is a different kind of power in this: a power of letting go, a power of non-attachment.
ref: Anthology of Korean Literature, by Peter H. Lee