The Pond in a Bowl, Five Poems

1) In old age I'm back to childhood pleasures.
A bowl in the ground - Just add water- it's a pool!
Throughout the night frogs croaked til it dawned
as they did when I fished as a child at Feng-k'ou.

2) Who says you can't make a pond out of a bowl?
The lotus sprig I planted not long ago has already grown full size.
Don't forget, if it rains stop in for a visit.
Together we'll listen to raindrops splash on all the green leaves.

3) Come morning, the water brightens as if by magic.
One moment alive with thousands of bugs too small to have names,
Next moment they're gone, leaving no trace,
Only the small fish, this way and that, swim in formations.

4) Does the bowl in the garden mock nature
when night after night green frogs gather to prove it's a pool?
If you choose to come and keep me company need you fill
the dark with  noise and endless squabble like husband and wife?

5) Say the bright pond mirrors the sky, both blue.
If I pour water, the pond brims.
Let night deepen --the moon go---
how many stars shine back from the water!

Han Yu, (768-824)

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