The birds were everywhere

The birds were not afraid of the guns,
the squabble, the cloud, the gaggle, and cast.
The call of the cuckoo carried on
between each and every deafening blast.

The brown owl ignored the racket of fire
and the kestrel attended her nest unmoved.
The swifts circled the skies still higher
and the stork returned early and proved

as indifferent to the thunder of guns as any bird,
the parliament, the murder, and mutation,
all flocked to stump or wire undisturbed,

a noisy, irreverent congregation.

Autumn Twilight, Dwelling Among Mountains by Wang Wei

At last! New mountain air after rains.
Autumnal moon pours through pines.
Spring rushes over stones, crystalline.
Ruffled bamboos return noisy bathers’ glee
as fishing boats release lotus flowers’ full glory.
Be still, my friend, and stay with me!

You can read David Hinton’s translation of Wang Wei’s poem and Carol Rumens’s commentary at Poem of the Week here.


She dug the earth as he did write
The biryd did sing with all its might
The herbs were planted; thyme and rue
and now a song of love for you.

Picture 6

Please read the poem, Bird on a Briar, along with its modern translation and commentary by Carol Rumens here