Once when young I lay and listened
To the rain falling on the roof
Of a brothel. The candle light
Gleamed on silk and silky flesh.
Later I heard it on the
Cabin of a small boat
On the Great River, under
Low clouds, where wild geese cried out
On the Autumn storm. Now I
Hear it again on the monastery
Roof. My hair has turned white.
Joy – sorrow-parting-meeting
Are all as though they had
Never been. Only the rain
Is the same, falling in streams
On the tiles, all through the night.
by Chiang Chieh
Translation by Eliot Weinberger
From The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry