A Feast of Lanterns, by L. Cranmer-Byng, , at sacred-texts.com
Tsen-tsan and his brother delighted to dream in
They drew me down to the water's edge, their
Veiled was the sky and sombre the land, and
sudden the change from daylight,
The wind rose and the storm-waves seemed to be
rolling pale gems in the foam.
Our boat shot forth from its moorings and rippled
into the movement,
Great was the scene, inspiring to song, but the
dominant note was fear.
How should I not be stirred with danger surging
Treacherous wind and crested wave, is there no
Lo now the captain unfurls the silken sail to the
And the boatmen begin to rejoice as the last cloud
The wild-fowl rise with a roaring of wings, scared
by the chant of oarsmen;
Lute and flute are astir; faint harmonies drip
from the sky.
Bright are the water-lily's leaves as though the
rains had burnished them.
The slack line slips through my hands that would
fathom the soundless lake.
My gaze falls on the vast expanse of the limitless
void before me,
Rearward menacing, dark, Chong-Nan towers out
Southward the mountains brood above the restless
Their grim reflections, trembling, sink in deeps of
The sun sets, the boat glides by the
And soon the moon is mirrored in the dun dusk of
’Tis then the black dragon, breathing pearls, looms
out of the darkness.
’Tis then the river-god beats the drum, and the
shoaling monsters rise.
The naiads leave their dim retreats, faintly their
revels find us,
And the pale streamers of their quickened lutes
gleam for an instant far away.