The Farewell

(after the Chinese Mong-Kao-Jen and Wang Sei)

The sun retreats behind these mountains
Evening descends in sweet shadow
Silver bark floats into sky
The sliver of moon rises
Dark fir trees shiver gently
In the breeze
I wait for my friend
To take our last farewell
I hear water move
The earth breathes deep
with sleep
Tired men have stopped working
The birds are silent
The ground grey with sleep

He left his horse and handed me
   a drink of farewell
I ask him where he goes and
   also why it must be
He says
You my friend, my life has not been fortunate
I will travel these mountains alone
   seeking peace
I am an old man, tired
There is stillness here
Everywhere the earth breathes spring
The land is green forever

-Revised September 4, 2009-