April 22nd, 2011

me: art

National Poetry Month No. 4: Li Po - Along the Stream

Li Po - Along the Stream (translated from the original Chinese by L. Cranmer-Byng)

The rustling nightfall strews my gown with roses,
And wine-flushed petals bring forgetfulness
Of shadow after shadow striding past.
I arise with the stars exultingly and follow
The sweep of the moon along the rushing stream,
Where no birds wake; only the far-drawn sigh
Of wary voices whispering farewell.


I love the compact density of this poem. It manages to portray such a complex, evolving scene in so few words. At the same time, it's not merely a detached observation. It is personal, not just because the narrator is in it, but because it conveys exactly the sense of alertness and slight wariness I get when outside alone in the countryside on a cool clear night.