Faint wind rustles reeds and cattails;
I open the hatch, expecting rain–moon floods the lake.
Boatmen and water birds dream the same dream;
a big fish splashes off like a frightened fox.
It’s late–men and creatures forget each other
while my shadow and I amuse ourselves alone.
Dark tides creep over the flats–I pity the cold mud-worms;
the setting moon, caught in a willow, lights a dangling spider.
Life passes swiftly, hedged by sorrow;
how long before you’ve lost it–a scene like this?
Cocks crow, bells ring, a hundred birds scatter;
drums pound from the bow, shout answers shout.
translated by Burton Watson