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 the state of self-presence

 Reveals things as they really are.

You can feel their essential vibration,

And sense their truth in your heart.


Form empties of substance,

And space fills with light.

Ego fades away,

And spirit shines bright.


Yin and Yang unite,

Black merges with white.

The Five Elemental Energies 

All return to the Light.


The realms of Heaven and Earth

Appear in the Celestial Eye.

Mind mirrors the world

Like a lake reflects the sky.


Awareness awakens with a flash

In the crucible of the heart,

Sparkling like a diamond,

It illuminates infinite space.


Trust your heart without doubt,

And never stray from the path.

Raise high the torch of wisdom,

And hail the awakened ones!"

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 bloo

 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.

Temple bells and cocktail ice;
The shouting 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 feasabilities,
Fraught with probabilities,
And unexpected opportunities,
Swirling in the shifting sands
   of circumstance, 
   of happenstance,
   the trembling trance,
   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,
Now, without further delay.
Sprawled out on the floor,
One step from death's door,
My soul flew up and away,
When I heard a voice shout,
"Come back!" it cried out,
"Don't leave me alone, please stay!"
Like dreaming time at dawn,
It felt peaceful and calm,
Drifting in luminous space,

Then the sound of her cries
Opened my eyes,
With a blink of surprise,

As tears rolled down my love's 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

Deep within the practice of the Prajna Paramita,

       The Bodhisattva Kuan Yin

        saw with radiant clarity

        that the five cognitive clusters

        are all empty of innate existence,

       and  thus transcended all suffering and pain.

Sariputra, form is not separate from emptiness;

        emptiness is not separate from form;

        form is emptiness;

        emptiness is form;

        sensation, thought, memory, and consciousness

        are all the same as this.

Sariputra, all things are empty of definitive quality:

        neither born nor destroyed;

        not polluted nor pure;

        never increased nor decreased.

Therefore, in emptiness there is no form,

        no sensation, thought, memory, or consciousness;

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

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

        no perceptual field of sight,

        nor even a conceptual field of thought;

        no ignorance and no end of ignorance;

        no old age and death,

        nor the end of old age and death;

        no suffering, no cause of suffering,

        no end of suffering, no path;

        nothing to know and nothing to gain.

Because there is nothing to gain,

        bodhisattvas abide in the Prajna Paramita

        and do not build barriers in their minds;

        because they build no barriers,

        they know no fear

        and keep clear of distorted delusion,

        including nirvana.

All buddhas of the past, present, and future

        abide in the Prajna Paramita

        and so attain the Great Perfection

        of fully awakened awareness.

Thus do we know the Prajna Paramita

        is a mantra of great spirit,

        is a mantra of great light,

        is a mantra unsurpassed,

        is a mantra unmatched,

        It can end all suffering.

        It is true, not false.

Thus we recite the Prajna Paramita mantra,

        the mantra that is said like this:

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

[“Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond, Gone Far Beyond and Awakened!”]

*         *         *

        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
   Rings 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
   Another round of drinks

   It never stops  

No one wins 

  The race of life and death 

  Round and round  

Run mice and men  

Running out of breath  


The Wheel of Life 

  On spokes of death

   Spins in time and space 

  It never ends 

  You never win 

  Until you quit the race


                                                  Chiang Mai, January 2019