Friday, December 15, 2017



in the fourth watch the mountains spew up the moon,
in night’s remains, waters illuminate the tower—

in essence, a dusty case revealing a mirror,
curtains raising themselves in gusts to the topmost hook—

the Rabbit ought to ponder my crane-white hair,
but the Toad only longs for my sable coat—

I mull over the Widow Lady Chang-E,
how she bears the chill of the ninth month

translation © Jack Hayes 2017
based on Du Fu:

Chang-E is the Moon Goddess, & her companions are the Jade Rabbit (or Hare), who pounds herbs into the elixir of immortality, as well as a Toad, often depicted with three legs. Chang-E pilfered the herbs of immortality from her husband, the mythical archer Yi, & flew to the moon. In poetry, she is often a figure for loneliness.

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Tang dynasty (618-906) bronze mirror with moon goddess and rabbit design. Photo by Wiki user Hiart [link provided on Common is empty], who publishes it under the following license: This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

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