Don't read books'
Don't chant poems'
When you read books your eyeballs wlther away
leaving the bare sockets
Sour plums at lunch left my teeth feeling all feathery.
Banana trees cast green across gauze window-screens.
A long day. I Wake from a noon nap empty of thought,
all idleness, watch kids catch falling willow blossoms.
Now it comes, mid June on West Lake,
Four seasons, the vista ever unique.
Lotus leaves to the horizon, boundless green,
Sun glow on lotus buds, peerless red.
A year ago my boat, homeward bound,
moored at Yen-ling-
I was kept awake all night by the rain
beating against the sails
. Last night the rain fell on the thatched roof
of my house.
I dreamed of che sound of rain
beating against the sails.
Chrysanthemums in bloom-as gaunt as ever;
peonies, leaves falling off; seem completely withered.
A locust, frozen nearly to death,
clings desperately to a cold branch.
The pure wind makes me chant poems.
The bright moon urges me to drink.
Intoxicated, I fall among the flowers,
heaven my blanket, earth my pillow.
I idly open a book of T'ang poems
and find a petal of peach blossom, still fresh.
I remember taking this book with me
to read among the flowers
and realize that another year has passed.
Hundreds of cold sparrows dive into the empty courtyard,
cluster on plum branches and speak of sun after rain at dusk.
They choose to gather en masse and kill me with noise.
Suddenly startled, they disperse. Then, soundlessness.