From the third of Fifteen Poems of My Heart by Juan Chi [Ruan Ji] translated by Jerome Ch’ên and Michael Bullock in Poems of Solitude.
I quoted aloud the last lines to my lover who remarked the the speaker was lazy…
I prefer to fly with jays and tits,
Not with hoary herons.
For they travel high and far,
Making the return too hard.
But let us recall the cold from the opening lines
The last rays of the setting sun,
Which once shone upon me warmly, have now gone
The wind keeps returning to strike the walls
While cold birds seek warmth in one another’s breast.
and realize that to hang out with the jays and tits is still to be active in winter which is an image with moral import for the middle of the poem characterizes the cold birds as emblems of “men of influence” perhaps beyond their prime
Clinging to their feathers,
They fear hunger in silence.
O, men of influence
Remember to withdraw in time!
You look sad and frail
Is it because of power and fame?
And so I was to turn again to the poem as a whole after having read a piece aloud — having been delighted by the alliteration of “hoary herons” — and return less to laziness more to admiring orientation mechanisms in non-migratory birds … “Studies on species that cache food (such as jays and tits) have shown that these species may even use a sun compass in order to retrace hidden food (Sherry and Duff, 1996*)” Bird Migration: A General Survey by Peter Berthold.
*Sherry, D. F., and S. J. Duff. (1996). “Behavioural and neural bases of orientation in food storing birds.” The Journal of Experimental Biology.
And so we store little bits to read later and recall Chinese poetry from the Three Kingdoms.
And so for day 1610