by Tu Fu
From the water east of our fence, sun
Ascends. North of home: mud-borne clouds.
A kingfisher cries from bamboo heights,
And on the sand below, magpies dance.
Blossoms scatter, bees and butterflies
Stitching the lavish confusion with flight.
Perched in solitude, I plumb idleness-
What would guests come looking for?
For a new well- wellrope of braided palm
Leaves, drains cut through bamboo roots. Antic
Little boats are just tangled rigging; here,
Small paths weave our village into itself.
Streams swollen after headlong rains, late
Light caresses a tree's waist. Two yellow
Birds keep hidden in their nest. Where
Shattered reeds float, a white fish leaps.
Bamboo needles our fence. Cane is toppled
In under eaves. The land turning to sunlit
Silk slowly, reeds and the river gone
White weave together in tracery shadows.
Moonlight across stone, the river flows.
At the brook's mirage, clouds touch blossoms.
A perched bird knows the ancient Tao. Sails
Only drift toward night spent in whose home?
Sometimes I'm amused by the utterly expected.