the beryl

The Beryl of which I sing is a precious stone,
resembling the gay green of the waters of the sea
when the stormy blasts, gently appeased,
have given place to the zephyrs on the calmed waves.
Sometimes the Beryl has a golden surface
like newly-strained liquid honey,
but its lustre is feeble if it is not bevelled,
for the blow of the tool’s edge heightens its fine lustre
which is otherwise sickly, dull, and straw-coloured,
lacking the double gleams which cutting gives to it.

The best is the sort whose tinted surface
resembles the lovely hue of fine emeralds.
Only the Indian shore sends us the Beryl,
either green or golden.
For hardenings of the liver and for eye diseases it is a sovereign remedy,
it immediately calms panting, hiccups, and belching.
It maintains the union of man and woman within the laws of marriage.
It drives away sloth and with its friendly influence humbles the pride of a cruel enemy.

Remy Belleau

life

The sorrow in your heart
is betrayed by a few grey hairs.
Life is like empty mountain ranges
Where snow awaits your visits;
Yet you make your solitary retreat
by the path in the wilderness.

Li Yü

weathervane

South wind.
Dark and burning,
soaked with orange blossoms,
you come over my flesh,
bringing me seed
of brilliant gazes.

You turn the moon red,
make captive poplars moan,
but you’ve come
too late!
I’ve already scrolled up the night
of my tale on the shelf!

Without any wind
—Look sharp! —
Turn, heart.
Turn, my heart.

Northern air,
white bear of the wind!
You come over my flesh
shivering with boreal
auroras, with your cape of phantom
captains,
laughing aloud at Dante.
Oh polisher of stars!
But you’ve come too late.
My case is musty
and I’ve lost the key.

Without any wind
—Look sharp! —
Turn, heart.
Turn, my heart.

Gnome breezes and winds
from nowhere.
Mosquitoes of the rose
with pyramid petals.

Federico Garcia Lorca

tedious ways

…When you throw water on the floor,
It runs in all directions.
Life has its predestinations.
Then it is useless
to worry about everything.
Before you sing the Tedious Ways,
Comfort yourself and pour some wine.
I am not made of stone or wood.
For lack of courage,
I prefer to remain silent…

Pao Chao

field

Grasses tall enough
to touch a traveler’s sleeve—
a summer field.

Sōchō

rain

Summer rain—
on cloud-covered cliffs,
willow trees!

Sōchō

you see, I want a lot…

You see, I want a lot. Perhaps I want everything:
the darkness that comes with every infinite fall
and the shivering blaze of every step up.

So many live on and want nothing,
and are raised to the rank of prince
by the slippery ease of their light judgments.

But what you love to see are faces
that do work and feel thirst.

You love most of all those who need you
as they need a crowbar or a hoe.

You have not grown old, and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths where life calmly gives out its own secret…

Rainer Maria Rilke

cherry

The cherry blossoms
on the mountains aglow
in the morning sun
might be mistaken for snow
that does not deign to melt.

Fujiwara Ariie

drinking

Last night, the wind and rain —
Those autumnal sounds
struck against the curtains and screens.
The candle wept,
the clepsydra dripped
and I leaned against the head-rest.
I rose, but found no peace.

All mundane affairs
should be thrown into the river.
Life is just a nightmare.
The only safe path is down into the cellar.
Any other route is not worth the fare.

Li Yü

new year

Wind returns to this small court
as lichens turn green.
Her eyes and the willow leaves
make a sequence in spring.
Leaning against the balustrade
she remains long in silence.
The new moon and the crackers
are tediously the same as in the past.

The feast and the music have not yet ceased.
In the pond, ice is beginning to melt.
In the bright candlelight and the faint scent,
and deeply hidden in this painted room,
My temples, overladen with thoughts,
are white like frost.

Li Yü