8 June 2009

'Golden rain rapids'

Wind buffets and blows autumn rain.
Water cascading thin across rocks,
waves lash at each other.
An egret startles up, white, then settles back.
-- Wang Wei, English'd. This version is quoted in a review by Adam Kirsch which concludes:
No doubt our own time of troubles, our own ugly and vicious world, which separates the world of [Ezra Pound's] Cathay from the world of [David Hinton's anthology of] Classical Chinese Poetry, is the reason why the Chinese poets seem to speak to us more intimately now when they speak of suffering and disillusionment rather than of beauty and perfection -- or even, in David Hinton's magisterial book, of enlightenment.
But Cathay was published in 1915: hardly an age of innocence.

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