November 23rd, 2002

caillebotte_man at his window

Late Vignette

It was as though a veil of thin silk had been pulled across the sky, and around the moon, it glowed with a pale shade of blue. Slowly, it descended, and was dissolved into faint mist. Now, all the leaves are wet and shiny, and the grass sparkles with moonlit dew. The air is heavy with damp, and has chilled almost to the point that a sigh for the passing season would be visible, the ghost of a melancholy mood, floating into the night.

On a night such as this, what can I do but post something by Tu Fu?


Now high autumn has cleared my lungs, I can
Comb this white hair myself. Forever needing
A little more, a little less-- I'm sick of drug-cakes.
The courtyard miserably unswept-- I bow

To a guest, clutching my goosefoot cane. Our
Son copies my idylls on bamboo they praise.
By November, the river steady and smooth again,
A light boat will carry me anywhere I please.

--translated by David Hinton