But even my ears are no help once the wind begins to blow. Is that a footfall I hear in the darkness, or merely a skittering oak leaf? Is that a creaking branch, or did something growl? Unless a creature emerge from the shadows, I have no way of knowing. As the moon would now have them back-lit, I wouldn't even see their eyes glow with reflected light. It makes the night feel a bit dangerous. Most distressing of all is when I myself crush a leaf underfoot, or kick one of the fallen, fat mulberry leaves, which makes an alarmingly loud sound. I like the moonlight, but like it more when it is veiled. Stark light, strong drink, and unadulterated truth all have their uses, but none are apt to produce serenity.
by Tu Fu
As I row upstream past a tower, the boat
glides into its shadow. Even this far
west, the stately pines of Ch'eng-tu's
widespread villages continue. And beyond,
out there in untouched country, autumn
colors heighten cold clarity. Mountain
snows bleached in its glare, sunlight
conjures exquisite rainbows among clouds.
Kids play along both banks. And though
nets and arrows are put away, the day's take
taken, wherever lotus and chestnut remains
lie scattered, the roadside bustle goes on.
The fish are all scaled, but lotus-root
covered with mud sits unwashed. Nothing
changes with us. Craving delicate beauty,
we avoid the thick squalor of things.
Over my village: scattered clouds, lovely
twilight. Here, roosting hens settle in.
Each departure like any other, where is
my life going in these isolate outlands?
Fresh moonlight falls across my clothes. It
ascends ancient walls dusted with frost.
Thick wine ready to drink since time began,
war drums break loose east in the city.