I think deeply of the Ancients

Far off, I gaze at the white clouds,
I think deeply of the ancients …
I think of you, recluses:
A thousand years after, I cherish your principles.
Searching their essence, I cannot exhaust it. …
That the ancients cannot be with me
only I can know how sorely I regret it.

Tao Chien


Lunar Park

Becalmed the profane noise of the crowd.
Toward the risen Moon, the symbolic Bronzes
Curve, in the blue night, their antique nudity
In the sphinx-like majesty of attitudes.

A dream of incense symphonies the lustral Lake,
Enchanted by the sidereal presence of Swans,
Elegiacally swooning their silver-pale lines,
Beneath the sacred music of astral infinitude.

Drunken with silence, the aching lawns
Grow languid in the brightness of calm reveries;
Amid the somnolent shadows of the bowers

Hovers the conjugal slumber of weary birds;
And the mute asphalt of the abandoned pathways
No longer shudders beneath the lascivious step of idylls.

Jean Delville

Hope and Memory

Hope and Memory have one daughter and her name is Art, and she has built her dwelling far from the desperate field where men hang out their garments upon forked boughs to be banners of battle. O beloved daughter of Hope and Memory, be with me for a while.

W. B. Yeats

Image: ‘Hope & Memory’. Kenyon Cox. 1900.

To Be Great

To be great, be whole;

Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you.

Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you do.
So, in each lake, the moon shines with splendor
Because it blooms up above.

Fernando Pessoa

In Climbing on Nanjing mountain to the Terrace of Phoenixes

Phoenixes that played here once, so that the place was named for them, 
Have abandoned it now to this desolate river; 
The paths of Wu Palace are crooked with weeds; 
The garments of Qin are ancient dust. 
…Like this green horizon halving the Three Peaks, 
Like this Island of White Egrets dividing the river, 
A cloud has arisen between the Light of Heaven and me, 
To hide his city from my melancholy heart.

Li Bai

The Hostile Sun

High summer’s tyranny has loosed its hold;

From their hot zenith my desires descend

To genial afternoon. Though I grow old,

Autumnal ripeness comes before the cold.

The hostile sun, with whom I would contend,

Tempers his lustful fire, and as a friend

Inaugurates my evening years of gold.

I, who could not give up the world, go free:

This irreligious world renounces me.

Ignored in peace and decently neglected

Till I am safely dead, I lay no claim

To riches, privilege, prestige, degree,

Nor crave the flaring fraudulence of fame,

But work unknown, my only wealth the Name.
Harold Stewart