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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Singing Alone in the Mountains (by Bai Juyi)

Everyone has their habits
Mine is composing verse
Everything else has faded away
But this weakness alone 
Has stayed with me

Whenever I come across
A beautiful scene
I want to do right
As I would with friend or kin
To sing aloud or make note
About this encounter
With divine mystery

Whether I'm floating down river
Or resting half way up the mountain
When a new poem
Presents itself

Or alone on the path
Hiking up the eastern cliff
Resting my body
Against the white rock
That overlooks the precipice
And clinging to the branches
Of a laurel tree

My wild song
Shatters the peace
Of the ravine below
The birds and apes
All cry in response
Whether they're
Scared or laughing
I can't be sure

And the suddenly
The world seems
As if I'm the last man
On the face of the earth


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