All day it was overcast, but the rain didn't arrive until late afternoon. While the light lasted drops glittered on new leaves and blades of grass, but soon all was swallowed by darkness. Now the rain is all sound, a soft dropping and the trickle of the downspouts. The air barely moves. I could listen for hours, but won't. Back to the lit house and the warmth flowing up from the furnace grates. The hearth of the television beckons. I will watch someone else's world while reality drizzles and the ground soaks up the pooling lifeblood for next month's flowers. I will see them then, no need to listen to this universal intimacy.
—translated by Ezra Pound
from Shih Ching (Compilation of classic Chinese poetry from the Western Chou Dynasty, ca. 1122 to 771 BCE)
[PINE BOAT A-SHIFT]
Pine boat a-shift
on drift of tide,
for flame in the ear, sleep riven,
driven; rift of the heart in dark
no wine will clear,
nor have I will to playe.
Mind that's no mirror to gulp down all's seen,
brothers I have, on whom I dare not lean,
angered to hear a fact, ready to scold.
My heart no turning-stone, mat to be rolled,
right being right, not whim nor matter of count,
true as a tree on mount.
Mob's hate, chance evils may, gone through,
aimed barbs not few;
at bite of the jest in heart
start up as to beat my breast.
O'ersoaring sun, moon malleable
lifting a-sky to wane;
sorrow about the heart like an unwashed shirt, I
clutch here at words,
having no force to fly.