The western wind has blown but a few days;
Yet the first leaf already flies from the bough.
On the drying paths I walk in my thin shoes;
In the first cold, I have donned my quilted coat.
Through shallow ditches the floods are clearing away;
Through sparse bamboo trickles a slanting light.
In the early dusk, down an alley of green moss,
The garden-boy is leading the cranes home.
Remnants of sun ribbon the river–
half and half, black river red.
The third night, ninth month lovely hour;
pearled dew, bent bow moon.
Don’t think of the past;
It only awakens painful regrets.
Don’t think of the future;
It paralyzes with uncertain longings.
Better by day to sit like a sack in your chair;
Better by night to lie like a stone in your bed.
When food comes-open your mouth.
When sleeping comes-shut your eyes.
A slight rain comes, bathed in dawn light.
I hear it among treetop leaves before mist
Arrives. Soon it sprinkles the soil and,
Windblown, follows clouds away. Deepened
Colors grace thatch homes for a moment.
Flocks and herds of things wild glisten
Faintly. Then the scent of musk opens across
Half a mountain — and lingers on past noon.
As bamboo chill drifts into the bedroom,
Moonlight fills every corner of our
Garden. Heavy dew beads and trickles.
Stars suddenly there, sparse, next aren’t.
Fireflies in dark flight flash. Waking
Waterbirds begin calling, one to another.
All things caught between shield and sword,
All grief empty, the clear night passes.
After eating lunch, I feel so sleepy.
Waking later, I sip two bowls of tea,
then notice shadows aslant, the sun
already low in the southwest again.
Joyful people resent fleeting days.
Sad ones can’t bear the slow yers.
It’s those with no joy and no sorrow—
they trust whatever this life brings.
To govern simply by statute and to maintain order by means of penalties is to
render the people evasive and devoid of a sense of shame.