Poems of Meng Jiao
Cities stained with blood
Yue's power, already gone to dust.
Wu's strength, too, now emptiness.
Our empire's ways already suffer.
This city's faith is in the unthinking and common.
Common people find comfort in the old ways.
Come spring, our scholars announce new books.
Where are those who hear the crack of doom?
Only silken sighs of empty hesitation.
Clarifications. Line 4 is literally [this city][faith/belief][ordinary days]. Line 7 is literally [rise and fall of empire][thoughts/thinkers][where?]. In line 6, I added "our scholars" and in line 8, "only."
Common people are comforted by their misconceptions of the past. Come spring, the New York Times' Literary Supplement is so exciting. And now where are those who hear the crack of doom? The ages pass. The sighs remain the same.