Tag Archives: moon

Reading sheet music

arp

Reading sheet music

The guitar arpeggios are the roofs of nearly identical houses
In a small village. The streets are covered in snow, no one

Goes in or out. But the temperature even at night has turned mild,
No smoke rises from the roofs, which are spotted with moonlight.

In the morning a dog runs through the alleys, pausing here and there
To check out something new. Snow slides off a roof in the morning sun.

Rising

Rising

The moon’s not looking
out a window in

the house next door
to the west of bed.

Rising I talk the evening
down from its sorrows:

What begins as one thing
passes into another, I say,

sundown to dusk to night
for instance, night to

faintest light to dawn
to day. Then night says

in a voice so dark I can
not read its words

What begins as love
passes into love

and from the house next door
to the east of my steps

the moon rises
as from its black chimney

still

still

What is hanging still there over the clouds and houses?
In this moment when even the crickets are pursing their lips.

I know the gravity of things keeps it all moving, that it takes
time for the light to reach me, I know on a soft quiet night

nothing is still but look up there, memory the size of the moon,
lighting the way, going nowhere, perfectly still.

Walking, Noontime, on a Warm Ides of March, Spring Having Arrived A Week Early

sidewalk character

Walking, Noontime, on a Warm Ides of March, Spring Having Arrived A Week Early

So much easier these days to appear middle-aged!
Moon’s out walking too  – only its topmost perimeter,

frosted white, is visible in this nearly spring blue noon sky.
Maybe that’s how I’m seen today

as I pass through quiet intersections:
almost invisible but for the borders of my graying temples.

Night [after and for Mei Yao-ch’en]

NIGHT

日從東溟轉, 夜向西海沉.

The unhurried day drizzles, turns
westward and sinks beneath the sea.

羣物各已息, 衆星燦然森.

All things hold their breath, the stars
just right, glorious like the forest.

蝦蟇將食月, 魑魅爭出陰.

The toad on the moon eats,
the demons strive to come out of the clouds.

阮籍獨不寐, 徘徊起彈琴.

The city dozed fitfully, alone, hesitated,
then rose and picked up its instrument.

 

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[Note: This is a first draft of a work based on a poem of Mei Yao-ch’en (1002-1060), about whom I have written many poems on this blog. As with the previous poem I shared, this will likely change greatly from its current state to a final accurate version more worthy of being called a translation. The method I’m following is unusual but feels most natural for me — To write an impression of the poem gathered into my own poem in English, and then to continue to write a poem in English, and another, with the hope that each one gets closer and closer to my friend Sheng-yu’s poem in its traditional Chinese characters, till they are at least close enough to nod at each other or share a bottle of wine.  Chen Zhang, who is busy at Harvard finishing her dissertation while teaching as the Chinese Literary Preceptor up there in Cambridge, furnished me with the traditional characters for Mei’s  poem. I will keep you updated on any new versions. ]