The Thinker by William Carlos Williams

My wife’s new pink slippers
have gay pompons.
There is not a spot or a stain
on their satin toes or their sides.
All night they lie together
under her bed’s edge.
Shivering I catch sight of them
and smile, in the morning.
Later I watch them
descending the stair,
hurrying through the doors
and round the table,
moving stiffly
with a shake of their gay pompons!
And I talk to them
in my secret mind
out of pure happiness.

The Hunter by William Carlos Williams

In the flashes and black shadows
of July
the days, locked in each other’s arms,
seem still
so that squirrels and colored birds
go about at ease over
the branches and through the air.

Where will a shoulder split or
a forehead open and victory be?

Nowhere.
Both sides grow older.

And you may be sure
not one leaf will lift itself
from the ground
and become fast to a twig again.

A Divine Falling of Leaves by César Vallejo

Moon: royal crown of an enormous head,
dropping leaves into yellow shadows as you go.
Red crown of a Jesus who broods
tragically, softly over emeralds!

Moon: reckless heart in heaven,
why do you row toward the west
in that cup filled with blue wine,
whose hull is defeated and sad?

Moon: it is no use flying away,
so you go up in a flame of scattered opals:
maybe you are my heart, who is like a gypsy,
who loafs in the sky, shedding poems like tears ! . . .

translated by James Wright

from For Distant Destinies by Turgut Uyar

I know, one day when sitting at a park
A hand will touch my shoulders as rain
A pair of eyes, an invitation, a heart
I’ll leave everyone behind . . .
Leaves will fall, flowers will wither

There will be an autumn, a morning and a rain
With scents of the earth and of people,
In a howling drunkenness, for the years
I’ll leave, go on my own.

translated by Omer Kursat

After Lunch by Po Chü-i

After eating lunch, I feel so sleepy.
Waking later, I sip two bowls of tea,

then notice shadows aslant, the sun
already low in the southwest again.

Joyful people resent fleeting days.
Sad ones can’t bear the slow years.

It’s those with no joy and no sorrow—
they trust whatever this life brings.

translated by David Hinton

Idle Song by Po Chü-i

After such painstaking study of empty-gate dharma,
everything life plants in the mind dissolved away:

there’s nothing left now but that old poetry demon.
A little wind or moon, and I’m chanting an idle song.

translated by David Hinton