rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,


When April nights are clear and moonless, the sky gathers a garland of stars so dense in spots that it seems almost a cloud of light. Black spikes of pine hedge my view, calling my attention to all that dank, rooted earth which resonates with chirping crickets. Thus enclosed, I forget the distance of the stars, and feel as though I walk in a large room that is but dimly lit. I feel thoughts stirring, and expect something to happen, but the night passes uneventfully, disturbed by nothing more than the occasional bark of a dog or hoot of an owl. That the change of season should portend some other change is nothing more than fancy or desire. These days, I dream of spells and wake with only powerless words. What power lies in these nights does not belong to me. I watch the constellations wheel, but read no revelations. I am like those earthbound crickets who chirp and chirp and change nothing.

Reading the Poems of an Absent Friend

by Ou Yang Hsiu

Tsu Mei is early dead. Chang Yu
Now is somewhere in the South.
And I, unhappy, am like
A four horse chariot which
Has lost the horses on right
And left. Their memory, like
A strong enemy, attacks
And overthrows me. The feeble
Swarm of my own thoughts struggles
In vain against the shock. All
Men respect hard work, but in
Leisure and repose they find
Happiness and peace. And me,
What is the matter with me?
Nothing, except that I cannot
Bear the loss of friends. It has
Been a long time since I have
Written a poem. My ideas
Are like sticky pudding. When
Good land is not cultivated
Regularly the grass vanishes
And is replaced by weeds, hard
To hoe. When you do not use
A well every day the pure
Water does not replace itself.
By chance, I opened a book
Of Mei's and I forgot
Everything else while the sun
Sank below the eaves. The joys
Of poetry, for those who
Appreciate them, increase with
Time and familiarity,
Their richness never ends in
Satiety. I am sorry
For the men of these times. They
Talk of nothing interesting
And have no ambition and
Die without ever being
Aware of the music of verse.
But I who am lucky enough
To appreciate these pleasures,
The more I savour, the deeper
I understand, the more I want.
In the leisure which my duties
Leave me, I stay at home, so
I can enjoy them undisturbed.
And I wonder that my feeble
Means have enabled me to
Enjoy these poems so much, that here
I have run off, like a horse
Whose rider has lost the bit.

translated by Kenneth Rexroth

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