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Poetry by Daniel and Snow Reid

"When Snow moved in with me after our wedding in Chiang Mai, we devised a Chinese word game that we played in the morning during our overlapping time at the tea table, before I went to my desk to write. The goal was to compose a piece of Chinese verse together by alternately suggesting spontaneous lines and stringing them all together. One of us began with a line out of the clear blue sky, and the other added a rejoinder, and we continued until something interesting emerged.  When we applied this exercise to the Dzogchen teachings, here’s my translation of what emerged:

Contemplation in Self-Presence

Contemplation in self-presence awareness

 Unveils the true face of reality.

You can hear the world's vibrations,

And see the glow of its light.


Forms empty of substance,

Energy fields grow bright.

Ego fades into shadow,

Spirit shines its light.


Black merges with white;

Yin and Yang unite.

The Celestial Eye observes 

The dance of energy and light.


The Wheel of Life revolves,

And consciousness evolves.

The  mirror of mind reflects

The cycles of birth and death.


In the crucible of the heart

Awareness suddenly awakes.

A Diamond of Great Perfection,

Sparkles in luminous space.


Trust your heart, shine your light,

Speak the truth and do what's right.

Fly the flag of freedom

On the path of wisdom and insight.

Soul Music

(For Kana)

I left my phone at home today

   and went out for a walk.

No rings, no bings, no cyber things,

   no aimless idle talk.

Thoughts flowed freely through my mind,

   and feelings reawoke.

A line of verse rose fully formed,

   and then an angel spoke.

“I’ve waited day and night,” she said,

   “for you to hear me sing.

But all my songs were muffled

   by bings and pings and rings.”

I grabbed my pen and paper

   and wrote that line of verse.

And right behind it followed

   A line as fine and terse.

“Leave that thing at home,” she said,

   when you come out to stroll.

And I will sing the songs for you

   I hear within your soul.”

Daniel Reid, Chiang Mai

December 19, 2017

The Elephant

I dreamed I saw an elephant,

     wading in a stream.

Or was he dreaming he was me,

     or was I really him?


His trunk sucked water from the stream

     and splashed it on his head.

He paused to take a mighty pee,

     and then he spoke to me.


“I saw you in a dream,” he said,

     “wading in a stream.

You splashed some water on your head,

     and then you took a pee.”

- Daniel Reid


Clouds of smoke drift through my room,
Curling in the air;
They swirl in twirling plumes of fume
Like strands of silver hair.

Rings of smoke whirl from my lips
And sail the wind I blow;
They float away like bobbing ships
And take my thoughts in tow.

Smoke is like a friend who knows
My every silent dream;
Like passing clouds it comes and goes
In slowly winding streams.

Daniel Reid, Dali, Yunnan, China 2017

In Dali Town

In Dali Town In Dali Town
There's Tasty Tea
And Honey Bees,
Mountain Mamas,
Temple Lamas.

In Dali Town
There's Yak Skin Drums
And Rasta Strums,
Wholesome Foods
And Carefree Moods.

In Dali Town
Cream Puff Clouds
And Happy Crowds,
Yunnan Coffee
Hand-pulled Taffy.

In Dali Town
Eagles Soar
And Rivers Roar,
Songbirds Sing
And Bike Bells Ring.

In Dali Town
We Never Frown,
We Don't Feel Down.
Come Hang Around
In Dali Town.


        Daniel Reid
        Dali, Yunnan, March 2017

Yankee Doodle

Dyslexia, dyspepsia,
Dysfunctional hysteria...

Faster food, slower service,
Paranoid, always nervous...

TV shows, mortgage woes,
Morgellons, Cheerios...

Overweight, underfed,
Half alive, nearly dead...

Daniel Reid
Dali, November 7, 2010


Prayer flags
Drape rocky crags
Across this magic place.
Stone strewn streams
Splash Sky Dance dreams
In fields of sacred space.

Shaggy yaks
With saddle packs
Lumber cross the vale.
Rainbow waves
Of terma rays
Pour down from hidden caves.

Hot springs steam
From brimstone seams,
Puff clouds wreath the peaks.
The Lotus Born--
In wind blown whispers speaks:

"From birth to grave
We seek the cleft
From which we surged as babes.
With Heaven's grace
In Earth's embrace,
Sacrum forges primal force

And Hearts return to Source."

Friends of the Lotus,
  Last week, Snow and I went down to Terdrom, the sacred hot-springs mountain where Padmasambhava and his consort Yeshe Tsogyal spent 7 years cultivating the highest practices together.  We hiked up 5,000 meters to the caves where they practiced, did puja there, and when we got back to the lodge below to soothe ourselves in the hot-spring pool, this poem downloaded like falling rain.
  This place is for real, well worth a visit...                                        Dan & Snow

Daniel Reid

Terdrom, Tibet August, 2010


They gave everything,

and asked

for nothing.


They just liked

the feeling.


That’s how love


Daniel Reid

Dali, January 2010

The Beckoning Silence
(for Joe Simpson)

So real, like steel,

So full, so still.

Ever on and up I go,

Step by step,  toe by toe.

Boots crunch stone along the trail,

Breath pumps blood

 from head to tail.

Water gurgles down the gorge,

Puff clouds billow, spirit soars.

Two more ridges, one more ledge,

And there I stand

on mountain’s edge.

Gazing down the world below,

Beckoning silence


Daniel Reid, Big Black Peak
Evergreen Mountain , Dali, August, 2009


In a mountain cave
An old man stirs the coals;
A crow caws out in the cold.

Daniel Reid
Four Maidens Mountain, China
November, 1981

Dali Town

 Daniel Reid

Dali, China, October 2008

Dali Town
Cobbled lanes
Corniced eaves
Rock of ages
Rolling stone

Dali Town
Cool cafes
Music bars
Hand pressed hash
Blond tobacco


Dali Town
China chic
Himalaya hip
Mountain mama
City chick

Dali Town
Wholesome food
Crystal water
Alpine air
Tribal culture


Dali Town
Ancient rhythms
Modern beat
Rainbow sky
Rainy streets


Dali Town
Happy heart
Stoner head
Sweater weather
Feather bed

In Shangrila

Cherub children

    laugh and scream

Lazy kittens

    purr and preen

Hawkers bellow

    lamas pray

Songbirds warble

    donkeys bray.


Hammers echo

    down the lanes

Horses whinny

    at their reins

Timeless rituals

    spacious hearts

In Shangrila

    a new day starts.

Sunshine splashes

    frozen streets

Diamond light on

    crystal sleet

Tibetan girls

    churn butter tea

Grumpy dogs

    growl hungrily.


Smoke clouds curl

    from cooking fires

Tinkling bells

    on temple spires

Sky greets earth

    and earth says “Hi!”

Cocks crow loud

    as dawn trips by. 

Daniel Reid
December 19 2008

Happy Birthday
(for Fred Reid)

Happy Birthday to you

Try not to feel blue

If you need a quick fix

I've got the right mix


Happy Birthday to you

May your dreams all come true

Live long and stay strong

Your gift is this song

Daniel Reid
Dali, China , July, 2008

Happy Birthday to you
Your karma is due
There's no other way
You'll just have to pay

Happy Birthday to you
Remember this too
It's never too late
To decide your own fate

Happy Birthday to you
Whatever you do
Don't waste precious time
You're way past your prime

Asian Nights

I love the glow of Asian nights,
Streets ablaze in neon lights;
The heat and noise of throbbing crowds,
The swirling sea of gaudy sights.

I love the smell of Asian nights,
Kitchen smoke and pungent spice;
The mingled must of sweet and sour,
The heady scent of sweat and flowers.

I love the sound of Asian nights.

Temple bells and cocktail ice;
The shouts of touts and hum of prayer,
The siren song of tender vice.

I often dream of Asian nights,
And splurge in all her sweet delights;
If I could have one wish right now,
I’d lie in Asia’s arms tonight.

Daniel Reid

May 6, 2003
Byron Bay

A Cup of Tea

A cup of tea at the break of dawn
Lifts the spirit and lights the heart.

A cup of tea after a meal
Cleans the mouth and aids digestion.

A cup of tea on a busy day
Quenches  thirst and relaxes tension.

A cup of tea when overworked
Soothes the body and relieves fatigue.

Translated by Daniel Reid

The Light of Love

And then you’ll know
      without a doubt
What life’s about
      and who you are:

A Child of Light
      sown from stars.

Daniel Reid September 2002

Nothing can resist
      the Light of Love
That always shines
      from high above.

In the deepest depths
      of the darkest heart
A glimmer remains
      of the sacred spark.

When the time is right
      a friend will come
To re-ignite
      the Eternal Light.

"To deepen your understanding of some aspects of what Light truly is, the following description is provided to further trigger the emergence within you of what no words can possibly describe...


Out of Love comes the Light that brings awareness of all that is to All That Is. In Its infinite expansion from the Source Point where Love and Light were first expressed, the Light of Love brings with it, wherever It shines, the Creative Fiat of Manifestation. Love is the Alpha and Light is the Omega. Just as Love brings into existence the Sentient Presence that had remained unmanifested up to Its initial burst of Light, Light brings this Omniversal Presence into an ever sharper focus of existence. Through claiming my innate Light essence, the same that shines through all that is, I proclaim Who I Am to the Universal Force of Love in me and accept the bridal offer of conception of an ever more refined expression of All That Is. I literally become the Light of Creator Source conceiving all over again, at my own microcosmic level, the Universal Reality of all dimensional realms of manifestation and acting out Its infinite creative Will to Be through all that I Am."

The Party

No wonder people love parties!

Gorging rich food,

Speaking blank words,

Smug smiles, cheeky faces,

Hearts cold, heads empty,

Each one aiming 

At a different mark.

There’s meat and wine,
Sweet treats and dainties,
And barrelsful of fun.
They have not shown up in vain:
 Crossing swords in brief encounters,

They swoop into the fray

And stuff their bellies full.

Say "Hello", say "Goodbye",
"Great party, good food,"
"Hate to run, but have to go …"

Leaving behind a pile of rotting bones,
Stale crumbs, and dirty dishes,
And the frowns on the scowling faces
Of the servants.

Happiest of all are the guests;
Sorriest of all are the servants;
Half happy half sorry is the host.

Chunk upon chunk of meat,
Goblet after goblet of wine,
Go tumbling down their gullets,
Tickling to death the guests,
Worrying to death the host,
And tiring to death the servants.

Jabbering and joking,
Clasping hands and talking trash,
Time flies swiftly.

Does the host stage all this 
Just to please her guests?
Or could it be ... …

She’s just indulging 
In another grand celebration
Of her own loneliness?
Or maybe it's only an exercise 
To test the strength and stamina 
Of the servants.

No blame killing two birds 
With one stone.

Chiang Mai, Thailand 1992

This work by Chou Tung (Snow Reid) was first published in Chinese in the Feb 23, 1992 issue of The World Daily News in Thailand; The above is a translation by Daniel Reid, sub-titled as “A Meditation on the Mind of a Host”

The Future

The future is a set of possibilities,
Phantom feasibilities,
Fraught with probabilities,
And unexpected opportunities,
Swirling in the shifting sands
  of circumstance, 
  of happenstance,
  the trembling trance,
   of the dervish dance
Whirling in our minds.

Daniel Reid

December 2005, Byron Bay

Tea Poem

Willow branches graze the grass,
       As I sit in the shade drinking tea.
  A note from a flute blows clearly,
       Mingling with the sound of rain.
  I could sit here alone forever,
       And still I'd never feel lonely.

Anonymous poem inscribed

on an old Yi Hsing tea pot

Translated by Daniel Reid
 Byron Bay 6th July 2007

The World is Aglow

The world is aglow,
A magical show.
Don't stand in the crud
Like a stick in the mud.
The world is aglow,
There are places to go.
Get out in the sun,
Join in the fun!

The world is aglow,
You're moving too slow.
Get up on your feet:
Stay tuned to the beat!
The world is aglow,
Keep pace with the flow.
Each measure of time
Is a moment sublime.

Daniel Reid
Goa, India, January 2 1979


I was due for extinction
But got an extension
And promised to change my ways:
Give up my addictions
And past derelictions,
Without any further delays.
Sprawled out on the floor,
One step from death's door,
My soul flew up and away,
Then I heard a voice shout,
"Come back!" it cried out,
"Don't leave me alone, please stay!"
Like a dream before dawn,
I felt peaceful and calm,
Adrift in luminous space,

When I opened my eyes
To the sound of her cries,

Tears rolled down my loves' face.

Daniel Reid
Byron Bay, July 9, 2007

The Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra

translated from the Chinese text written in the Tang Dynasty by Hsuan Tzang by Daniel Reid

The Bodhisattva Kuan Yin

       deep in contemplation on the Prajna Paramita,

        saw with radiant clarity

        that the five clusters of perception

        are all essentially empty

       and  so transcended all suffering.

Sariputra, form differs not from emptiness;

        emptiness differs not from form;

        form is essentially empty;

        emptiness is the essence of form;

        sensation, thought, memory, and consciousness

        are all like this.

Sariputra, all forms are devoid of innate existence:

        not born nor destroyed;

        not defiled nor pure;

        not increased nor decreased.

Therefore, emptiness has no form,

        no sensation, thought, memory, or consciousness;

        no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind;

        no shape, sound, smell, taste, touch, or thought;

        no field of vision,

        nor even a field of thought;

        no ignorance and no cessation of ignorance;

        nor even old age and death,

        nor cessation of old age and death;

        no suffering, no cause of suffering,

        no cessation of suffering and no path;

        no knowledge and no gain.

Because there is nothing to gain,

        the bodhisattva relies on the Prajna Paramita

        and builds no barriers in his mind;

        because he builds no barriers,

        he has no fear

        and steers clear of of the pitfall

        of wishful thinking

        including the wish for nirvana.

All buddhas of the three times*

        rely on the Prajna Paramita

        to attain the Great Perfection

        of fully awakened awareness.

Therefore we know that the Prajna Paramita

        is a mantra of great spirit,

        is a mantra of great light,

        is a mantra without limit,

        is a mantra without equal,

        It can end all suffering and pain.

        and is true, not false.

That is why we recite the mantra of Prajna Paramita,

        the mantra that says:

*Past, present and future

“Om Gatay, Gatay, Para Gatay, Para Sam Gatay, Bodhi Svaha!”

[“Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond, Gone Completely Beyond to Awakening!”]

*         *         *

        The Prajna Paramita Sutra, known as the “Perfection of Wisdom,” is thought to have been composed during the first century A.D. in the region north of India that now belongs to Afghanistan and Pakistan, based on earlier teachings originating in South India in the first and second centuries B.C. The earliest surviving versions we have today are two translations in Chinese from now missing Sanscrit and Pali texts, one done by Kumarajiva around 400 A.D. and the other by the monk Hsuan Tzang in 7th century A.D., based on a text he brought back to China from his long pilgrimage to India. Also known in Chinese as the “Heart Sutra,” it is the most revered Buddhist teaching throughout China, Korea, and Japan and contains the seeds of the highest teachings of the Buddha. This translation into English is based on the Chinese translation done by Hsuan Tzang during the Tang Dynasty. May it inspire the wish to awaken in all who read it!

Ring Around the Rosy

Ring Around the Rosy   

Ring of fire
   Rings of smoke
   Rings of space and time
   Wedding rings
   Onion rings
   The ring of truth and lies

   Around the world
   Around the clock
   Round and round we go
   Round the bend
   Round the block
   One more round of drinks

   It never ends  

We always lose 

  The race of life and death 

  Round and round  

Run mice and men  

Running out of breath  


The Wheel of Life 

  Spins round and round

   In cyclic time and space 

  It never stops 

  No one wins

  Until we quit the race


                                                  Chiang Mai, January 2019

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