Monday, December 21, 2015

rain (4 poems)

rain (4 poems)

the first


fine rain falling: not enough to slick roads:
broken wispy clouds shifting, returning

& dark hastens to settle on purple cliffs:
white birds wing from the edge, & shine—

in autumn sun, freshly stained shadows:
by the cold river, familiar voices sink—

brushwood gate overlooks a country mill
half done hulling fragrant sticky rice

the second


river rain, worn out, becomes sporadic:
all at once the clear sky exhales silken mist

at autumn’s dusk things turn cold & damp:
today the clouds advance slowly past the sun—

mounted my horse I go nowhere:
watching gulls never still, never departing

a high pavilion above Goosetail Rock—
this damp air calms my library curtain

the third


the look of things makes it clear: the year’s grown late:
no one comes back from this far corner of sky,—

north wind carries cries of birds the rain’s swoosh swoosh
this trembling blur of snow & rain rain & snow—

a long-time sick I try to take more food:
wasting away as I am, I’m given new clothes

a precarious season: I brood on death’s withering—
old friends’ letters grow brief, infrequent


the fourth


in this Chu rain, moss thrives on rocks
but news from the capital city’s delayed—

in cold mountains, the black rhinoceros roars:
on the evening river, gulls screech, hungry

rain goddess lets her flower hairpins fall:
the mermaids’ shuttle moans, weaving in grief—

cares multiply: they can’t be disentangled:
rain the whole day spilling down like silk

Jack Hayes
© 2015
based on Du Fu:
yǔ sì shǒu

Acknowledgment: Sheila Graham-Smith for her major contributions in research & editing

Image connects to its source on Wiki Commons
Ji Zhi Wen Gao (Funeral Address for Nephew Ji-ming):  Yan Zhenqing (a renowned piece of Tang Dynasty calligraphy)
Public domain

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