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A Poet Thinks

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

The rain is due to fall,
The wind blows softly.
 
The branches of the cinnamon are moving,
The begonias stir on the green mounds.
 
Bright are the flying leaves,
The falling flowers are many.
 
The wind lifted the dry dust,
And he is lifting the wet dust;
Here and there the wind moves everything
 
He passes under light gauze
And touches me.
 
I am alone with the beating of my heart.
 
There are leagues of sky,
And the water is flowing very fast.
 
Why do the birds let their feathers
Fall among the clouds?
 
I would have them carry my letters,
But the sky is long.
 
The stream flows east
And not one wave comes back with news.
 
The scented magnolias are shining still,
But always a few are falling.
 
I close his box on my guitar of jasper
And lay aside my jade flute.
 
I am alone with the beating of my heart.
 
Stay with me to-night,
Old songs.
 
From the Chinese of Liu Chi (1311-1375).
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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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