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

poem of my heart

VI

Sitting in an empty hall
I enjoy no one’s company.
Going out to the endless road
I see no chariot or horse.
Climbing up a hill
I look at places far away.
A solitary bird hovers
And a stray beast wanders.
The setting sun reminds me of relatives and
friends.
How I have longed to talk to them!

Juan Chi

one day

Leaning upon my staff.
I stand in front of the gate.
The song of cicadas
is brought to me by the evening wind.
On the far side of the ferry
the sun is setting
And above the cottage
a solitary curl of smoke is rising.

Wang Wei

the hill of hua-tzǔ

The birds fly away
into infinite space:
Over the whole mountain
returns the splendour of autumn.
Ascending and descending
Hua-tzǔ hill,
I feel
unbounded bewilderment and
lamentation.

The sun sets,
the wind rises among the pines.
Returning home,
there is a little dew upon the grass.
The reflection of the clouds
falls into the tracks of my shoes,
The blue of the mountains
touches my clothes.


Wang Wei
P’ei Ti

sun

The sun goes down—
but evening light remains
in the leaves.

Nijō Yoshimoto

a hard life

He huddles in a shadow and in winter in the cold.
When  the wind blows he shakes a little flame at the end of his
fingers and signals among the trees. He is an old man;
no doubt he has always been one and bad weather doesn’t
make him die. He goes down into the plain when evening
falls; during the day he stays halfway up the hill hidden
in some wood from which he has never been seen to
emerge. His little light trembles on the horizon like a
star as soon as night falls. Sunlight and noise frighten
him; he hides waiting for the shorter and silent days of
autumn, under the lowering sky, in the gray and gentle
atmosphere where he can trot, with bent back, without
being heard. He is the old man of winter who never dies.

Pierre Reverdy

poem 149

She weighs the difficulties of electing a way of life
that must last until death

With all the hazards of the sea in mind,
no one would set sail; if in advance
the dangers were foreseen, no one would dare
so much as taunt the mad bull in the ring.
If the prudent rider were to weigh
the unleashed fury of a pounding beast
set free to race, we would not see
anyone set a skilled hand to the reins.
But if one showed such brave audacity
as, despite the peril, to aspire
to take in hand the blazing chariot
of the great god Apollo, drenched in light:
that one would do it all, not simply choose
a way of life that must endure till death.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

on the grasshopper and cricket

The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s — he takes the lead
In summer luxury, — he has never done
With his delights, for when tired out with fun,
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.

John Keats

summer

You [the sun] whose course the Eternal Spirit has marked out,
you who give growth and feeling to matter,
who measure out time and mete out the day,
king of the wandering worlds who compose your court,
bright and noble image of the God who guides you:
the seasons, their gifts, our riches, are your work.

You prepared the earth to be fertile
when you clothed it with grace and beauty;
soon you mounted to the height
of the heavenly vault and hotter beams,
shed about your path, penetrated the atmosphere,
the depths of the earth and of the seas
from the equator to the pole.

They give birth to innumerable beings,
everything stirs, organizes itself, and is conscious of existence.
Are the sand and the mud filled with life?
In the woods, in the waters, on the burning mountains,
the germs of birds, fish, reptiles,
burst out all at once from their fragile prisons.
Here, the nimble fawn plays with the lamb;
there, the young steed bounds near the kid;
on the opposite edges of those light leaves,
tribes dwell which are foreign to one another;
the calyxes of the flowers, the fruits, are inhabited;
in humble clods of turf, cities spring up;
and an inanimate drop of rain-water
contains an atomy people, an invisible multitude.

As a wave disappears beneath the following wave,
a being is replaced by the being it produces.
They are born, O mighty God, when your life-giving voice
calls them in their turn on to the stage of the world.
Devoured by each other, or destroyed by time,
they have served your purpose for a few moments.

Jean François de Saint-Lambert

the ways of nature

Toward the sun’s path
Hollyhock flowers turning
In the rains of summer.

Matsuo Bashō