Friday, June 13, 2008

Mountain Poems

The Mountains

The days have closed behind my back
Since I came into these hills.
Now memory is a single field
One peasant tills and tills.
So far away, if I should turn
I know I could not find
That place again. These mountains make
The backward gaze half-blind,
Yet sharp my sight till it can catch
The ranges rising clear
Far in futurity's high-walled land;
But I am rooted here.
And do not know where lies my way,
Backward or forward. If I could
I'd leap time's bound or turn and hide
From time in my ancestral wood.
Double delusion! Here I'm held
By the mystery of a rock,
Must watch in a perpetual dream
The horizon's gates unlock and lock,
See on the harvest fields of time
The mountains heaped like sheaves,
And the valleys opening out
Like a volume's turning leaves,
Dreaming of a peak whose height
Will show me every hill,
A single mountain on whose side
Life blooms for ever and is still.

- from the Collected Poems of Edwin Muir.

Alone Looking at The Mountain

All the birds have flown up and gone;
A lonely cloud floats leisurely by.
We never tire of looking at each other -
Only the mountain and I.

Li Po

Returning to Songshan Mountain

The limpid river runs between the bushes,
The horse and cart are moving idly on.
The water flows as if with a mind of its own,
At dusk, the birds return to perch together.
The desolate town is faced by an ancient ferry,
The setting sun now fills the autumn hills.
And far below high Songshan's tumbling ridges,
Returning home, I close the door for now.

Wang Wei

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