Autumn Thoughts - Poem by Meng Jiao
Lonely bones can't sleep nights. Singing
insects keep calling them, calling them.
And the old have no tears. When they sob,
autumn weeps dewdrops. Strength failing
all at once, as if cut loose, and ravages
everywhere, like weaving unraveled,
I touch thread-ends. No new feelings.
Memories crowding thickening sorrow,
how could I bear southbound sails, how
wander rivers and mountains of the past?
Bamboo ticking in wind speaks. In dark
isolate rooms, I listen. Demons and gods
fill my frail ears, so blurred and faint I
can't tell them apart. Year-end leaves,
dry rain falling, scatter. Autumn clothes
thin cloud, my sick bones slice through
things clean. Though my bitter chant
still makes a poem, I'm withering autumn
ruin, strength following twilight away.
Trailed out, this fluttering thread of life:
no use saying it's tethered to the very
source of earth's life-bringing change.
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