Overnight at Stone-gate Cliffs
by Hsieh Ling-yŁn (385-433)
I spent the morning digging out orchids,
afraid frost would soon leave them dead,
passed the night among fringes of cloud,
savoring a moon up beyond all this rock,
chortles telling me birds have settled in,
falling leaves giving away fresh winds.
Sounds weave together in the ear, strange
unearthly echoes all crystalline distance,
though there's no one to share wonders
or the joys in wine's fragrant clarities.
We'll never meet again now. I sit beside
a stream, sun drying my hair for nothing.
translated from the Chinese by David Hinton
From MOUNTAIN HOME: THE WILDERNESS
POETRY OF ANCIENT CHINA (Counterpoint, 2002)