from Lady Midnight Songs of the Four Seasons: Autumn 4

Autumn’s chill infuses crystalline wind.
A moon drifts heaven’s exquisite depths,

radiant. Lovely women ready winter robes,
ten thousand sticks beating frozen stone.

translated by David Hinton

NOTE: using sticks to beat clothing on special stones in autumn was a ritual women had to show longing for lovers taken far off to war.

2 thoughts on “from Lady Midnight Songs of the Four Seasons: Autumn 4

  1. Hinton really hits the right notes in his translations here. He keeps a more contemplative distance than, say, Seaton does, retaining some of the strangeness and a sense of some hidden formality. I really like bouncing from one to the other. Just finished reading The Jade Mountain, translations by Witter Bynner and Kiang Kang-Hu. Great for another take on those T’ang dynasty poems as well.

    • Yes, I like bouncing back and forth between different translators, too. I have a special place in my heart for The Jade Mountain, along with Rexroth’s two books. But I’m really enjoying my time with Hinton lately. Some of his takes on these poets just leave me breathless.

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