Mei Yao-ch’en and I Lament Missing The Lunar Eclipse Because of Rainy Weather, Though We Had Set the Alarm and Rose at Two in the Morning To View It, and What Else Could We Do With Our Time Now That We Were Awake But Drink Wine and Watch the New Maple Leaves Still Only Half Unfolded Bow Up and Down Like Obedient Monks to the Rain, Which In Turn Inspired These Lines By My 11th Century Guest, Written in the Style of a Poem By His Good Friend Ou-yang Hsiu
Don’t look up at the moon! at its old red eye clouded by the shadow of ages
Do all those lifetimes frighten you, hidden in your jade cloaks and bowing?
Don’t look! Who acts older, you whose lives have just begun, shuffling
like old men already bent beneath worshiping what falls, or the unblinking penumbra?
Somewhere south of here, the frogs chant about towers in their flooded garden
The rain laps at the steps but hesitates like a visitor who won’t come in
Over clouds the great toad opens his eye to the light and there my love and I recline
Don’t look then! not for what you might see but for what is now looking back