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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Travelling Northward (from Tu Fu 713-770)

Screech owls moan in the yellowing
Mulberry trees.  Field mice scurry,
Preparing their holes for winter.
Midnight, we cross an old battlefield.
The moonlight shines cold on white bones.

Screech Owls

The South (from Wang Chien 736-835)

In the southern land many birds sing;
Of towns and cities half are unwalled.
The country markets are thronged by wild tribes;
The mountain villages bear river-names.
Poisonous mists rise from the damp sands;
Strange fires gleam through the night-rain.
And none passes but the lonely seeker of pearls
Year by year on his way to the South Sea.

Chinese Bamboo Flute

In old Arabic poetry...(from Czeslaw Milosz, "A Book of Luminous Things")

In old Arabic poetry love, song, blood, and travel appear as four basic desires of the human heart and the only effective means against our fear of death.