Silence of the night, painful silence,
Nocturne . . . Why does my soul tremble like this?
I hear the low hum of my blood.
I watch a calm storm pass inside my skull.
Insomnia! Not to sleep, and perchance
to dream. To be the whole soliloquy
of spiritual dissection, my Hamlet-I!
To dissolve my sadness
in one night’s wine,
in the marvelous crystal darkness . . .
And then I wonder: When will it be dawn?
A door just closed . . .
Someone is passing on the street . . .
The clock strikes three … It must be Her!
Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art! Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes. Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart, Vulture, whose wings are dull realities? How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise, Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies, Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing? Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car? And driven the Hamadryad from the wood To seek a shelter in some happier star? Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her ﬂood, The Elﬁn from the green grass, and from me The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?
Giant heads of gold are in the sky.
And now, far from me, my horse.
I kneel twice and cry with anguish and fear.
Death follows me.
I look to the sky where my gold knife reigns
with its blue queen and I tell my dreams.
Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things.