Monday, September 23, 2002

Today was the beginning of Fall, with the September Equinox occuring at 12:55 a.m. for those of us in the Eastern time zone. The change in season was marked by a change in the weather; clear and cool today, after yesterday night's downpour swept away the day's unseasonable heat and humidity. The equinox itself came hard on the heels of the Harvest Moon, traditionally, the full moon closest to the equinox.

Here is a small gathering of poems to commemorate the turn of the season. Their authors lived years ago and half a world away, but the sights can be seen from my own front porch, and their thoughts are as fresh as the day's weather report.

The moon speeds on --
the treetops
still holding rain.

Basho (trans. Stephen Addis)

Four or five clusters of mountains, colors
freshened by rain;
two or three lines of wild geese,
dotting the clouds of autumn.

Tu Hsun-ho (trans. Jonathan Chaves)

Solitary cloud, feeling of a thousand ages;
setting sun, a skyful of autumn.
As far as eye can see, departing birds--
watching the mountains, alone I lean on the railing.

Kodojin (trans. Jonathan Chaves)