After the mist cleared above the grove of spruce trees,
The chestnut colored horse appeared at the fence
Nudging the weathered board with his nose for a carrot,
Tail swishing back and forth against the pestilent flies on his back.
I had been thinking about Tu Fu again, a mountain recluse,
As were most poets in the Far East—
It must have been beautiful to glance up at the face of the mountain
When the trees of autumn turned brisk.
It must have warmed his hands to hold them against the fire.
Perhaps he could hear the rapid waters winding through the forest at night.
A solitary crow could be heard for miles across the vast silence.
It was a time when men prayed for others;
When a small fire by the bank of the river was all that was needed
To keep you beneath the infinite design of stars.
The old poet walked slowly,
Deliberately, as was his daily habit and constitution
To bathe where the river meets the sea,
A bamboo stick to measure his pace,
His hair tied neatly into a knot
A white robe trailing from the moon’s sail.
The nation falls into ruins
But the river and mountain continue…
The noise of war receded as he made his way back to his hut.
The crows shrieked Hi! Hi! from the highest branches
To welcome their companion back.