The Three Thousand Worlds that step forward with the light snow, and the light snow that falls in those Three Thousand Worlds.
I visited the temple before
I stayed there again last night
sounds floated into space from a dark ravine
faint shadows danced in the moonlit woods
I gazed at the stars in a sliver of sky
and shivered beneath my robe
all night in the clouds
just before dawn I heard the bell
it made me think as I woke.
Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as ravens claws.
Image: ‘The Angel of Death’. Emile Jean-Horace Vernet. 1851.
I am living a stolen life in the evening of age.
Even homecoming means but little peace and joy.
My thoughts are carried to the scenes of hermitage,
Close to nature and far from the turmoil of men.
I regret that the course of my life has been a mistake.
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.
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.
Silently I contemplate
The myriad forms
Spontaneously brought forth
By nature’s hand.
Image: Feathers of a male Bornean peacock pheasant.
The storm has passed,
The sky washed clear.
Rain-drops on twigs
Reflect the moon.
Image: ‘After the Storm, Moonrise’. Ivan Aivazovsky. 1894.
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.