Moon over Japan.
White butterfly moon!
The waters wash against the sacred islands
Where steps lead down to the sea,
Where neither death nor birth is permitted,
Where the heavy-lidded Buddhas dream
To the sound of the cuckoo's call,
The whitened mists lie adrift among the pines
And steal the color from the bright-leaved maples
On the mountains where the deer pasture and the monkeys sleep among the branches.
The white wings of moon-butterflies
Flicker down the streets of the city.
Brushing into darkness the useless wicks of round lanterns in the hands of girls.
Moon over the tropics.
A white curved bud
Opening its petals slowly in the warmth of heaven.
The white tree-lilies droop in its presence;
The long-stemmed coconut palms catch little reflections
And gather them on their leaves like garlands of white shiny flowers;
The air is full of odours
And langorous warm sounds;
In the flooded terraces the bright outline of the moon
Is a silver floor for the young rice to stand upon;
A flute drones its insect music to the night
Below the curving moon-petal of the heavens.
Moon over China.
Weary moon on the river of the sky.
The stir of light in the willows is like the flashing of a thousand silver minnows
Through dark shoals;
The tiles on graves and rotting temples flash like ripples;
The sands of deserts, and the great shoulders of treeless mountains whiten austerely in its rays;
The sky is flecked with clouds like the scales of a dragon.
And the beggars, lying beneath the city walls, huddled together, whine
"It will rain on us before another nightfall."