on Hamlet like behavior

here or there
that is the question
whether it be smarter
in the long run
to pare down
or grab the whirlwind
with both hands
and ride, ride
the cat stares in my face
wondering once again
where his bowls
will be
and the past hovers
over my shoulder
specters whispering
in my ear
a month of decisions
that will determine
the course my life
will take
as I begin to break camp
saddle up
and gaze with eyes
that embrace
the faraway look
that claims me

from Miscellaneous Poems, Poem 3 by T’ao Ch’ien

Bright blossoms seldom last long;
Life’s ups-and-downs can’t be charted.
What was a lotus flower in spring,
Is now the seed-husk of autumn.
Severe frost freezes the wild grass:
Decay has yet to finish it off.
Sun and moon come back once more,
But where I go, no sun will shine.
I look back longingly on times gone by–
Remembering the past wounds my soul.

translated by Eugene Eoyang