Poetry Tuesday: To the Tune “Meeting Happiness”

By Li Yu, 10th Century China.

Silent and alone, I ascend the west tower.
The moon is like a hook.
In solitude, the wu tung trees
Imprison the clear autumn in the deep courtyard.
Scissored but not severed,
Trimmed, but still massive:
It is the sorrow of parting,
Another strange flavor in the heart.



Poetry Tuesday: A Love Poem

By Vidya, in what is now India, from. . . let’s just say a long time ago.

The luck is yours that you can talk about
Your lover’s playful glance, his words and touch.
For me, I swear that once he puts his hand
Upon my girdle, I remember nothing.


Poetry Tuesday: I’ve Never Feared

By Antipater of Thessalonica, somewhere around the turn of the letters (from B.C. to the more current one).

I’ve never feared the setting of the Pleiades
or the hidden reefs beneath the waves
or even the lightning at sea
like I dread friends who drink with me
and remember what we say.


Poetry Tuesday: Le Temps A Laissie

By Charles D’Orleans (1349-1465), which you have to admit is a pretty French-sounding name.

The weather’s cast away its cloak
Of wind and rain and chilling haze;
It clads itself in broideries
Of crystal sunlit rays.

There’s not a beast or bird but sings
Or cries out in its own sweet strain:
The weather’s cast away its cloak
Of wind and cold and rain.

The whole wide earth is dressed anew:
River, fountain, and brook now wear
Drops of silver, jewels of gold—
The weather’s cast away its cloak
Of wind and rain and cold.


Poetry Tuesday: Two By Shikibu

Not Lady Murasaki, who wrote The Tale of Genji, but rather Lady Izumi; apparently the fact they had the same last name meant nothing in 10th-11th century Japan.
The first one tells exactly why so many people have trouble with meditation. The second is left to interpretation.

Autumn, on Retreat at a Mountain Temple
Although I try
to hold the single thought
of Buddha’s teaching in my heart,
I cannot help but hear
The many crickets’ voices calling as well.

Although the Wind
Although the wind
blows terribly here
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of the ruined home.


Poetry Tuesday: Next Morning

Someone who probably didn’t want to remain anonymous wrote this in seventh-century India.

Next morning
When a damnfool parrot–
right before her parents–
starts to mimic
last night’s cries of love,
the girl leaps up,
clasps her hands to
start the children dancing–
jangle of her bracelets
drowning out
the parrot’s calls.