ankles and knees

it’s the ankles
slender shapely
connecting those lovely feet
to those long legs
not to mention
the knees
friends say
I’m a leg man
who am I
to deny
what history has
proved to be true
in your case
a reaffirmation
of my predilection
for ankles
and knees
and all they connect
to what you stand upon
smiling at me

New Moon by Tu Fu

The bright, thin, new moon appears,
Tıpped askew in the heavens.
It no sooner shines over
The ruined fortress than the
Evening clouds overwhelm it.
The Milky Way shines unchanging
Over the freezing mountains
Of the border. White frost covers
The garden. The chrysanthemums
Clot and freeze in the night.

translated by Kenneth Rexroth

As Death Approaches by Orhan Veli Kanik

Toward the coming on of evening, in winter time,
At the window of a sick man’s bedroom–
I’m not the only one to be so alone;
It’s dark on the sea, the sky is dark, too.
Funny, how the birds are behaving tonight!
Don’t mind that I’m poor, that I’m alone in the world;
-Toward the coming on of the evening in winter time-
I too in my time have had my love affairs.
To be famous, to have women, to make money-
In time one gets to know the world as it is.

Is it because we’re to die that we have these regrets?
What were we, what happened to us in this world,
In this mortal old world, except evil?
We shall be rid of our dirt at our death,
With death we’ll get to be good men at last.
Being famous, having women, making money, and all-
We’ll forget all that when we die.

translated by David Garwood

Full Moon by Tu Fu

Isolate and full, the moon
Floats over the house by the river.
Into the night the cold water rushes away beyond the gate.
The bright gold spilled on the river is never still.
The brilliance of my quilt is greater than precious silk.
The circle without blemish.
The empty mountain without sound.
The moon hangs in the vacant, wide constellations.
Pine cones drop in the old garden.
The senna trees bloom.
The same clear glory extends for ten thousand miles.

translated by Kenneth Rexroth