Mona Douglas was only 16 when she published this in 1915. A brilliant person from a brilliant place, The Isle of Man. For those who’ve never heard of it, it’s an island between England and Ireland, and full of fairy people; I’ve seen them!
Dawn on the hills, and a breeze across the heather,
Lark-songs that fall from the solitudes of blue,
Haze on the bogs with their tufts of golden feather,
And a light that makes the whole world new.
Dusk on the hills and the shadows on the heather,
Ripples of flame on the waters far away,
Light on the crags, where the cattle roam together
In the glory of the dying day.
Noon on the hills, and the mist upon the heather,
Fast-driving sleet, and a wind that will not cease —
Lo! there’s a joy in the stormy winter weather
Which is greater than the joy of peace!
By Fujiwara no Yasusue, 12th Century Japan.
Remains of you in this grass
We once used to tread;
How long ago it was we came–
The garden now is a wilderness.
By Tu Mu, 9th Century China.
Bite back passion. Spring now sets.
Watch little by little the night turn round.
Echoes in the house; want to go up, dare not.
A glow behind the screen; wish to go through, cannot.
It would hurt too much, the swallow on a hairpin;
Truly shame me, the phoenix on a mirror.
On the road back, sunrise over Heng-t’ang.
The blossoming of the morning star shines farewell on the jeweled saddle.
By Ali ibn Hariq, sometime in the 13th century.
There must be serpents
There since Noah’s day
Fearing the Deluge
So now sensing
A rise in the water level
Out through the holes
They push their tongues.
By my mom’s fave poet, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz (Mexico, 1648-1695).
Let them die with you, Laura, now you are dead,
these longings that go out to you in vain,
these eyes on whom you once bestowed
a lovely light never to gleam again.
Let this unfortunate lyre that echoes still
to sounds you woke, perish calling your name,
and may these clumsy scribblings represent
black tears my pen has shed to ease its pain.
Let Death himself feel pity, and regret
that, bound by his own law, he could not spare you,
and Love lament the bitter circumstance
that if once, in his desire for pleasure,
he wished for eyes that they might feast on you,
now weeping is all those eyes could ever do.
Doesn’t take much to figure out a word is Welsh, does it? From the Mabinogion, anonymous eleventh century.
Not of father, nor of mother
Was my blood, was my body.
I was spellbound by Gwydion,
Prime enchanter of the Britons,
When he formed me from nine blossoms,
Nine buds of various kind:
From primrose of the mountain,
Broom, meadow-sweet and cockle,
From the bean in its shade bearing
A white spectral army
Of earth, of earthy kind,
From blossoms of the nettle,
Oak, thorn and bashful chestnut.
Nine powers of nine flowers,
Nine powers in me combined,
Nine buds of plant and tree.
Long and white are my fingers
As the ninth wave of the sea.
Anonymous Sanskrit, circa 750.
The goddess Laksmi
loves to make love to Vishnu
from on top
looking down she sees in his navel
and on it Brahma the god
but she can’t bear to stop
so she puts her hand
over Vishnu’s right eye
which is the sun
and night comes on
and the lotus closes
with Brahma inside.