an Inca song

My mother bore me,
Ah!
Within a raincloud,
Ah!
That I might weep with the rain,
Ah!
That I might whirl with the cloud,
Ah!

translated from the Quechua into French by R. & M. d’Harcourt
translated from the French into English by John Bierhorst

In Idleness, Facing Rain by Wei Ying-wu

All dark mystery, I embrace it replete,
alone, night thinning into morning.

In this empty library, I face tall trees,
sparse rain soaking through rustling

leaves. Nesting swallows flutter, wet.
Orchid petals blur across stone steps.

It’s quiet. Memories come, and grief
suddenly caught and buffeted in wind.

translated by David Hinton

Spring Rain by Sowol Kim

Caught in a sudden shower, spring sobs,
while flowers fall everywhere–
even in my heart.
Watch, as the clouds drift high over the budding branches
until dusk descends with nightfall.
The sweet, sad rain falls endlessly
as do my tears on the carpet of flowers.

translated by Jaihiun Kim & Ronald B. Hatch

from Things I Didn’t Know I Loved by Nazim Hikmet

I didn’t know I loved clouds
whether I’m under or up above them
whether they look like giants or shaggy white beasts

moonlight the falsest the most languid the most petit-bourgeois
strikes me
I like it

I didn’t know I liked rain
whether it falls like a fine net or splatters against the glass my
heart leaves me tangled up in a net or trapped inside a drop
and takes off for uncharted countries I didn’t know I loved
rain but why did I suddenly discover all these passions sitting
by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
is it because I lit my sixth cigarette
one alone could kill me
is it because I’m half dead from thinking about someone back in Moscow
her hair straw-blond eyelashes blue

the train plunges on through the pitch-black night
I never knew I liked the night pitch-black
sparks fly from the engine
I didn’t know I loved sparks
I didn’t know I loved so many things and I had to wait until sixty
to find out sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train
watching the world disappear as if on a journey of no return

translated by Randy Blasing & Mutlu Konuk