Monday, March 8, 2021

Hilton Head Island: four recent photos; two poems; and a quote


In the SEASHELL ANTHOLOGY OF GREAT POETRY I came across an appealing unknown to me poem, ‘The River Merchant’s Wife:  A Letter’ by an unknown to me poet, Li Bai, who is also sometimes called Li Po in English, and who lived in eighth century China.  The poem was translated in 1915 by Ezra Pound.

The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter

After Li Po

While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.
You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,
You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.
And we went on living in the village of Chōkan:
Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.
At fourteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever, and forever.
Why should I climb the look out?

At sixteen you departed
You went into far Ku-tō-en, by the river of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.

You dragged your feet when you went out.
By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,
Too deep to clear them away!
The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me.
I grow older.
If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
As far as Chō-fū-Sa.

And I offer written forty years ago:

off Arnhem Land

                                        through the night

                                        on unseen wind

                                        and unseen waves

                                        I sail unseen


                                        in deserted coves

                                        I anchor



                                        I will not be here

                                        to be unseen

                                        and the people ashore

                                        will not be here

                                        not to see me


From Markus a professional seaman who lives in Estonia comes:  I totally agree with the idea of having no unpleasant surprises on a voyage.  One of the old sea captains who taught us in Maritime school said once, “Master mariner uses his great knowledge to avoid using his extraordinary skills.”

Thank you, Markus.

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