Friday, October 23, 2009

More Poetry from Ancient China

Tonight's moon is a waxing crescent, and I am not on my sickbed. Nonetheless, the skies have been cloudy, my health could be better, and the sight of the moon earlier did bring a little cheer. Hence this poem, another translation from the Chinese by Jonathan Chaves:

RISING FROM MY SICKBED, I Saw the moon as the Sky Cleared
This was the night of the mid-autumn moon of the year i-ssu [1605]

Up from my sickbed, I meet the full moon-
the clouds open, a smile opens on my face.
The clouds depart with what's left of my depression;
the moon appears with the new good feelings.
Falling leaves are iced with clear dew,
new fragrance rises from the thick wine.
The gladness is still not deep in my heart,
but these are embers, ready to burst into flame.

Yuan Hung-tao, PILGRIM OF THE CLOUDS: Poems and Essays From Ming China