Who is so clever and quick-witted
as to guess who goads me on my journey
when I get up, angry, at times awesome;
when I roar loudly and rampage over the land,
sometimes causing havoc; when I burn houses
and ransack palaces? Smoke rises,
ashen over roofs.  There is a din on earth,
me die sudden deaths when I shake the forest,
the flourishing trees, and fell timber -
I with my roof of water, an avenger
driven far and wide by the powers above;
I carry on my back what once covered
every man, body and soul submerged
together in the water.  Say what conceals me
or what I, who bear this burden, am called.

Click the Image for Answer



Sometimes I plunge through the press of waves,
surprising men, delving to the earth,
the ocean bed.  The waters ferment,
sea-horses foaming . . .
The whale-mere roars, fiercely rages,
waves beat upon the shore; stones
and sand, seaweed and salt spray, are flung
against the dunes when, wrestling
far beneath the waves, I disturb the earth,
the vast depths of the sea.  Nor can I escape
my ocean bed before he permits me who is my pilot
on every journey.  Tell me, wise man:
who separates me from the sea's embrace,
when the waters become quiet once more,
the waves calm which before had covered me?

Click the Image for Answer



Sometimes my Lord corners me;
the He imprisons all that I am
under fertile fields - He frustrates me,
condemns me in my might to darkness,
casts me into a cave where my warden, earth,
sits on my back. I cannot break out
of that dungeon, but I shake halls
and houses; the gabled homes of men
tremble and totter; walls quake,
then overhang.  Air floats above earth,
and the face of the ocean seems still
until I burst out from my cramped cell
at my Lord's bidding, He who in anger
buried me before, so shackled me that I
could not escape my Guardian, my Guide.

Sometimes I swoop to whip up waves, rouse
the water, drive the flint-grey rollers
to the shore. Spumming crests crash
against the cliff, dark precipice looming
over deep water; a second tide,
a sombre flood, follows the first;
together they fret against the sheer face,
the rocky coast.  Then the ship is filled
with the yells of sailors; the cliffs quietly
abide the ocean's froth and fury,
lashing waves, racing rollers
that smash against stone.  The ship must face
a savage battle, a bitter struggle,
if the sea so buffets it and its cargo
if souls that it is no longer under control
but, fighting for life, rides foaming
on the spines of breakers.  There men see
the terror I must obey when I bluster
on my way.  Who shall restrain it?

At times I rush through the dark clouds
that ride me, churn the sea into a frenzy,
then afterwards let the waters subside.
When one cloud collides with another,
edge against sharp edge, the din
of destruction, a mighty noise, echoes
above the dwellings of men; dark bodies,
hastening, breathe fire overhead,
flashing lightning; thunderous crashes
shake the sky, then growl darkly.
The clouds do combat, dark drops
fall, rustling rain from their wombs.
A fear-tide flows in the hearts of men,
a growing terror -  strongholds succumb
to dread - when that ghastly troop goes
on the rampage, and shrithing evil spirits,
spurting flames, shoot sharp weapons.
A fool is unafraid of the death-spears,
but for all that he will die
if the true Lord lets fly the arrow,
a whistling weapon, straight through rain
from the whirlwind above.  Few men
survive if they are struck by lightning.
I am the origin of all that strife,
when I rush through the concourse of clouds,
surge forward with great strength, and fly
over the face of the water. Troops on high
clash noisily; then afterwards,
under cover of night, I sink to earth,
and carry off some burden on my back,
renewed once more by my Lord's power.
I am a mighty servant: sometimes
I fight, sometimes wait under the earth;
at times I swoop and sink under water,
at times whip up waves from above;
sometimes I stir up trouble
amongst scudding clouds; swift and savage,
I travel widely. Tell me my name,
and Who it is rouses me from my rest,
or Who restrains me when I remain silent.

Click the Image for Answer



Ring me, they ring me.  I work long hours
and must readily obey my master,
break my rest, and loudly proclaim
that my guardian gave me a halter.
A man or a woman, weary and bleary,
has often called on me; winter-cold
I answer them, surely as they are. Sometimes
a warm limb looses the bound ring.
But it delights my master, a dull sort
of man, and satisfies me into the bargain,
if anyone can fathom and solve my riddle.

Click the Image for Answer



I'm by nature solitary, scarred by iron
and wounded by sword, weary of battle.
I often see the face of war, and fight
hateful enemies; yet I hold no hope
of help being brought to me in battle
before I'm cut to pieces and perish.
At the city wall sharp-edged sword,
skillfully forged in the flames by smiths,
bite deeply into me. I must await
a more fearsome encounter; it is not for me
to find a physician on the battlefield,
one of those men who heals wounds with herbs.
My sword wounds gape wide and wider;
death blows are dealt me by day and by night.

Click the Image for Answer



Christ, the true giver of victories,
created me for combat. When my lord
urges me to fight, I often scorch mortals;
I approach the earth and, without a touch,
afflict a huge host of people.
At times I gladden the minds of men,
keeping my distance I console those
whom I fought before; they feel my kindness
as they once felt my fire when,
after such suffering, I soothe their lives.

Click the Image for Answer



Silent is my dress when I step across the earth,
reside in my house, or ruffle the waters.
Sometimes my adornments and this high windy air
left me over the living of men,
the power of the clouds carries me far
over all people.  My white pinions
resound very loudly, ring with a melody,
sing out clearly, when I sleep not on
the soil or settle on grey waters - a travelling spirit.

Click the Image for Answer



I've one mouth but many voices;
I dissemble and often change my tune;
I declaim my deathless melodies
and don't refrain from my refrain.
Aged evening-songster, I entertain
men in their homes by rehearsing
my whole repertoire; they sit, bowed down,
quiet in their houses. Guess my name,
I who mimic the jester's japes
as loudly as I can, and rejoice men
with choicest songs in various voices.

Click the Image for Answer



In former days my mother and father
forsook me for dead, for the fullness of life
was not yet within me.  But a kinswomen
graciously fitted me out in soft garments,
as kind to me as to her own children,
tended and took me under her wing;
until under shelter, unlike her kin,
I matured as a mighty bird (as was my fate).
My guardian then fed me until I could fly
and wander more widely on my
excursions; she had the less of her own
sons and daughters by what she did thus.

Click the Image for Answer



My beak was bound and I was immersed,
the current swept round me as I lay covered
by mountains streams; I matured in the sea,
above the milling waves, my body
locked to a stray, floating spar.
When, in black garments, I left wave
and wood, I was full of life;
some of my clothing was white
when the tides of the air lifted me,
the wind from the wave, then carried me far
over the seal's bath. Say what I am called.

Click the Image for Answer


Currently we have 61 random Zen sayings.....
if you wish to submit your own please send e-mails to zenmaster@technozen.com



Web Design and Html Copyright 2000,2001 by Joseph Barone and the TechnoZen Group. All Rights Reserved.