Poems of Mi Fu
(In the style of the ancient masters)
In the lee of the rushes, mists trapped by the willows.
In the distance, folds of mountains like dark eyebrows.
A faint rain arrives from across the river
and, all at once, I am filled with vexation.
On the sandy bank, I stare across the river while
pairs of purple swallows cry out overhead.
I lift my wine to toast the parting clouds.
On these cool nights, I often have sad dreams.
I think Mi Fu always intends to write for effect. He has an audience in mind. Consider the title. Consider the note which announces a style he then avoids. But after a line or so -- and he has done this before -- he forgets his intended audience and simply writes what he feels, wrapped in a poetic style of his own. And in this way the poem faintly mirrors the style of the ancients. Or at least the style of the Tang, in its images and phrasing. I prefer him this way. When he writes for himself, he broadens his audience to include us all.