Night has fled by while I wandered in books. I barely noticed the absence of the moon. Now its waning crescent rises behind the trees, even as the sky turns pale with the glow of the following sun. Like the waning moon, I have arrived late. The words in my books are old, and cast only a reflected light from once-brilliant worlds. Unlike the sun, an age having set will not return. I wander the shades of cities and empires, my guides and companions the dried paper breath of dead poets and sages. In my world, they are ghosts, but I feel myself a ghost in theirs. In a thousand years, will some living thought brush this moment? Is that the source of the chill I feel? Already, the pale shadows cast in moonlight dissolve in the glow of the unrisen sun. Now shadowless, I might be transparent.
By Yuan Chi (C.E. 210-263)
When I was young I learnt fencing And was better at it than Crooked Castle.1 My spirit was high as the rolling clouds And my fame resounded beyond the World. I took my sword to the desert sands, I watered my horse at the Nine Moors. My flags and banners flapped in the wind, And nothing was heard but the song of my drums.
War and its travels have made me sad, And a fierce anger burns within me: It's thinking of how I've wasted my time That makes this fury tear my heart.