Head in hand, I look at the paper leaf; / It is still white.
I look at the ink / Dry on the end of my brush.
My soul sleeps. / Will it ever wake?
I walk a little in the pouring of the sun / And pass my hands over the higher flowers.
There is the soft green forest, / There are the sweet lines of the mountains / Carved with snow, red in the sunlight.
I see the slow march of the clouds, / I hear the crows jeering, and I come back
To sit and look at the paper leaf, / Which is still white / Under my brush.
From the Chinese of Chang-Chi (770-850)
Translated by E. Powy Mathers