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

the rapids of the white rocks

Limpid and shallow
are the rapids of the torrent;
The green reeds
I can almost touch
The people from the huts
to the east and west of the water,
Are washing silk
by the light of the moon.

On tiptoe over the rocks
I return to the water’s edge,
Playing with the water
I feel a boundless emotion.
When the sun goes down,
the cold settles on the river,
And the drifting clouds
grow pale and evanescent.

Wang Wei
P’ei Ti

the cup

As a hot traveller
Going through stones and sands,
Who sees clear water stir
Amid the weary lands,
Takes in his hollowed hands
The clean and lively water,
That trickles down his throat
Like laughter, like laughter,

So when you come to me
Across these parched places
And all the waste I see
Flowered with your graces,
I take between my hands
Your face like a rare cup,
Where kisses mix with laughter,
And drink and drink them up
Like water, like water.

Edward Shanks

morning glory

By morning glories
I have had my well-bucket captured —
and I borrow my water!



With the Rhine, the Rhone, the Ebro,
my eyes are filled.
With the Tiber, the Thames,
the Volga, the Danube,
my eyes are filled.

But I know the Plata,
and I know the Amazon bathes.
But I know the Mississippi,
and I know the Magdalena bathes.
I know the Almendares,
and I know the San Lorenzo bathes.
I know the Orinoco,
I know they bathe lands of bitter slime where my voice blooms,
and languid jungles chained by bloody roots.
America, I drink from your cup,
from your tin cup,
great rivers of tears!
Oh, leave me, leave me,
leave me now
…close to the water.

Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista

to a ship wrecked on the sea-shore

This useless bark, dry and broken,
now so despised by water and wind,
looked with scorn on the vast movements
of the stormy sea, of the east and the south winds.

Proud towards the deep, obedient to its pilot,
and always thirsty for the rich metal,
it brought the ores which it took aboard
in the distant Indies to their Spanish destination.

Now it lies far from the dear woods
in which it might have kept its green decoration
better than it could cargoes of treasure.

So the man who follows miserly greed
sometimes perishes miserably in a foreign land,
lacking both consolation and wealth.

Juan Martínez de Jáuregui y Aguilar

sit down on the bank of a rippling river

Sit down on the bank of a rippling river:
you will see it flowing in a perpetual current,
and, rolling wave after wave in a thousand twists
and turns, outpouring its watery course through die meadows.

But you will see nothing of that first wave
which once flowed by. The water changes every day,
every day it passes and we still call it the same river,
and the same water, in the same way.

So does man vary, and tomorrow the strength
of the poor human body which time shortens
and consumes will not be the same as today:

The name follows us until death without changing and,
although today I am not the same man who was living yesterday,
yet am I still called the same.

Jean-Baptiste Chassignet


Guitars cry
in the wilderness of night.
They are like ailing

The whole town
sleeps in agony…
The moon is a skull
watching over us.

All the sky is laced
with silvery light…
A voice cries out
for Jesus.

The dead stillness
of the moonlight spreads low…
And in the moonlight
at each door a soul expires.

The old people pass by trembling…
Go in peace,
you evangelists
of the Here-Lies!

All the sad city
is a cemetery….
There is a murmur of nostalgia
and mystery.

The cloud holds back
the tears it has in itself….
Beyond, weeps the song
of the river.

From south to north,
like a secret,
passes a draught of misfortune:
it is the voice of fear…

In the peace of the night
there is the celestial
silence of
a funeral urn.

Through the infinite grief
that is in everything
I hear the rolling of the water,
serene and sad.

Guitars cry
in the wilderness of night.
They are like ailing

And through the middle of the town
runs the river,
carrying the memory
of someone who is dying…

Alphonsus de Guimaraens

the ship

The ship perfumed with garlands of roses,
whose cedar side shines in the sun,
has slipped over the waves far from dreary shores,
and it is noon above land and sea.

Above the forests of shining elms and above the sands
it is noon! The ship creaks and trembles in the winds,
and man holds out his arms to the immortal skies,
and the land is alive, and the skies are alive!

They spread the golden sail; its shadow is radiant;
far away the dark oaks and the green lemon-trees
dwindle on the shore, and the thunderous wave
interrupts the sailors’ song with its din:

,,Farewell, white lakes, oaks, torrents, valleys,
caves full of streams and closed by rocks!
We ride on seas veiled by mists,
for die land is barren and the gods are hidden.

You left the East, O light; you have drunk
so many oceans, climbed so many mountains,
that great age has soiled your bright face;
we see you no more, O light, and we love you.

We bent the iron of coulters into anchors;
the old wind of the furrows blew in the sail;
we carried away the springs in goat-skins;
the ship is swollen with the com of nine harvests,

Over there the other sun appears in fertile skies;
we shall bring it back in our sinewy arms;
we shall scatter towns on the islands of the sea
to the thunder of lutes and fiery trumpets !’’

The prow is a pile of roses; on the poop the men,
who carried fate in their hearts, eat;
the sun sank in their cup and sleep turned
them to stone carved above the board.

Only the pilot watches and bright Diana,
whose lovely silver car cleaves the night air,
holding over them her quivering torch,
guides the sleeping crew, floating upon the sea.

Emmanuel Signoret

to an isle in the water

Shy one, Shy one,
Shy one of my heart,
She moves in the firelight
Pensively apart.

She carries in the dishes,
And lays them in a row.
To an isle in the water
With her would I go.

With carries in the candles,
And lights the curtained room,
Shy in the doorway
And shy in the gloom;

And shy as a rabbit,
Helpful and shy.
To an isle in the water
With her would I fly.

William Butler Yeats