The shoreline should have receded to the springtime by now.
Anyway, the children’s frolics are still April-like
And still thick are willow leaves on the riverbank
While their patterned shade becomes dry and faint.
Wild geese cry without any jittering, neither high nor low.
Fishermen take time to haul back their nets, as if to pose for the setting sun.
I stand before the window, like a morbid ancient poet, watching
The low clouds and lower boats on a long mirror,
Thinking of ancient laments over the unstoppable flow
Of time and drifters after fame and gain.
And night falls, and dark silhouettes of different height move westward.
I meant to tell you
That this would be the spare but engaged life I had imagined,
But it sounded so phony.
With air-conditioning and greenhouse effect,
Autumnal tristesse is long outdated, and what I can write is—
It is an extravagance to warm ourselves before a hearth
August 7, 2008
The images in the first three lines are borrowed from part of late Tang poet杜牧DU Mu’s poem 《秋岸》“Autumn Rivershore,” which reads:
The river-shoreline has perceptibly receded,And the shade of willow leaves is becoming cancellous.Children are heard calling from the boats
Beyond the dam, where fishermen are casting nets.