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A Poet Looks At The Moon

Edward Powys Mathers 1892 (Forest Hill, London) – 1939

I hear a woman singing in my garden,
But I look at the moon in spite of her.
 
I have no thought of trying to find the singer
Singing in my garden;
I am looking at the moon.
 
And I think the moon is honouring me
With a long silver look.
 
I blink
As bats fly black across the ray;
But when I raise my head the silver look
Is still upon me.
 
The moon delights to make eyes of poets her mirror,
And poets are many as dragon scales
On the moonlit sea.
 
From the Chinese of Chang Jo Hsu.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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Edward Powys Mathers

Edward Powys Mathers was an English translator and poet, and also a pioneer of compiling advanced cryptic crosswords. Powys Mathers was born in Forest Hill, London, the son of a newspaper proprietor. He was educated at Loretto and Trinity College, Oxford. He is well known as the translator of J. C. Mardrus's French version of One Thousand Nights and One Night. His English version of Mardrus appeared in 1923, and is known as Mardrus/Mathers. He is known also for the translations The Garden of Bright Waters: One Hundred and Twenty Asiatic Love Poems; and of the Kashmiri poet Bilhana in Bilhana: Black Marigolds, a free interpretation in the tradition of Edward FitzGerald. These are not scholarly works, and are in some cases based on intermediate versions in European languages. Some of his translations were set to music by Aaron Copland. He was also a composer of cryptic crosswords for The Observer under the pseudonym "Torquemada" from 1926 until his death. Under this pseudonym, he reviewed detective stories from 1934 to 1939. more…

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