Friday, January 15, 2016

weary night

weary night

a bamboo chill penetrates my bedchamber
feral moonlight fills each nook in the courtyard

heavy dew forms into clear droplets—
a rare star has blazed forth then vanished

in darkness fireflies light up their own flight
resting on the water, birds call each to each

all things within the sphere of the sword & shield:
the sky grieves as clear night dies away

Jack Hayes
© 2016
based on Du Fu:
juàn yè

As always, grateful acknowledgement for the research & editorial help from Sheila Graham-Smith. Sheila’s research clarified both line 4 & line 8, as she built a strong & compelling theory that line 4 referred to the 760 appearance of Halley’s Comet, & that line 8 echoed that by indicating the sky itself was displaying sorrow due to the bloodshed & anarchy associated with the An Lushan rebellion.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Report of Halley's Comet in 240 BC by Chinese astronomers from Sima Qian's Shiji (c. 109 BC-91 BC). "In the 7th year of Emperor Qin Shihuang of the Warring States, a broom star first appeared in the east, then it appeared in the north."
Public Domain

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