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Heaven disports herself

© 2006
BASID #699

Beth Ames Swartz
Heaven disports herself
acrylic and paste on canvas
20" x 24" (0.51m x 0.61m)

Words in blue visible in painted frame

(Du Fu, also Romanized as Tu Fu, 712 - 770 A.C.E, Chinese)

On Climbing the Big Pagoda on Chang’an

At the top of the pagoda one feels
To have truly entered the sky;
Winds drum incessantly; I am
Not one free of care and here my worry
increases; and this structure,
Representing the power of Buddha,
Makes one wish to understand
And penetrate the depths of his secrets;
Looking through the dragon and snake
Openings, one marvels at their intricacy
Of Construction; the seven
Stars come into view and the Milky Way;
One knows that the sun has been forced down,
And that it is autumn already; clouds

Obscure the mountain; the waters
Of the clear Wei and the muddy Jing
Seem to have come together; below us
Is the mist, so one can hardly realize
Down there lies our capital;
There is a hardly-to-be-defined air
Near the grave of the ancient Emperor Shun,
And one cries for his awakening; but now
By the Jade Lake, the Queen of the Western
Heaven disports herself with wine,
As the sun sets behind Mount Kun-lun
And yellow cranes fly aimlessly,
While the wild geese stream into
The sunset, searching for life.

1. Alley, Rewi, trans. Du Fu Selected Poems. Beijing: Foreign Language Press, 2001, pp. 32-4