Moonrise; Rain; Night falls so impatiently; & Come in, please!, translated from the Chinese by the author

Night falls so impatiently              

Rhapsody on a theme of Fang Si


Ah   night

night falls so impatiently

do not sing a mournful song

do not capture me with melancholy

do not interrogate me with questioning eyes

I only sigh a sigh

a sigh over this little poverty


December   on the Tropic of Cancer

someone   trailing a black cape

is passing through a white arch

he is going to the Sun’s funeral

the Sun has gone home


The Sun has a home   but not I

I don’t even know my homeland

strangers   those ancestors

venerable   but I do not know them

and the markings on the luminescent clock face

but there is a continuous knocking

starting since Galileo’s prayers

they abscond with those numbers

that were never mine

but keep on leaving their stains

on my overcoat


Every time   night stretches in darkness

I walk on the fourth string

the sky is raining   the stars are weeping

the street extends   there are no shadows

shadows are cuddling me

and half the strolling Earth

and   all those that were ever named recede

do not sing a mournful song


the stars   in clusters   are calling each other

across millions and millions of light years

do not sing a mournful song

Nobody remembers my name

really   not even myself

it is nothing but an oblivion

a lost overcoat

I am poor

deprived even of memory

postcards penguins sent me

crackling sounds from under the icecap


The tide recedes

in a faraway island universe

there is a lone voice

telling a story where nothing happens

listening   the stars all ascend

I realize there is nothing

it is nothing but illusion

nothing but void telling about void


Night multiplies in darkness

piling up multi-angular bubbles

I curl up under an overturned nest

the slumbering Cosmos broods me with a cool drowsiness

and caresses me with Ursa Major’s velvety touch

Rachmaninoff swings by on a tailless comet

I smell the magnetic music of Octopus Galaxy

through transistor channels come nonchalant sneers

sneering at my self-concocted joys

and yet I have none


I even dare not expect anything

dare not   in the moments before dawn

sing   escape from this spiral universe

wanting to say something but dare not

lest   even this little poverty

ah   night   shall be lost


­­ —Translated 2019


Fang Xin 方莘 arrived in Taiwan in 1949 with his family and settled in Taipei. As a teenager he joined an established group of poets known as the “Blue Star Poetry Society 藍星詩社.” His first poetry book, Mo Bai 膜拜 / In Prostration (1963) received great acclaim in Taiwanese literary circles. Fang is currently finishing a collection of poems and translations titled Night falls so impatiently 夜的變奏. He lives with his family in Oakland, California.