under spring moon shining
— li nan
translated by steve schroeder and amy liang
You don’t know, in the clamor of the city
shopping for groceries, catching the bus, I am
in a busy crowd, shadows driven by desire.
Should Spring come, moon shining down,
I also will look down
to see sleeping grass wake.
Should moon shine down, I would enter wilderness,
calm the breath of an impatient world,
console spirits countless as the stars.
Should you become I, you would catch your breath.
On one side dreams of your youth flare up.
On one side snuff them out with life’s ordinariness.
Oh! Only what appears now inspires your faith.
Spring moon shining,
I, restrained, still touch everything —
Heart mixed with hunger and caution, a beautiful evening.