I watch people in the world Throw away their lives lusting after things, Never able to satisfy their desires, Falling into deeper despair and torturing themselves. Even if they get what they want How long will they be able to enjoy it? For one heavenly pleasure they suffer ten torments of hell, Binding themselves more firmly to the grindstone. Such people are like monkeys Frantically grasping for the moon in the water And then falling into a whirlpool. How endlessly those caught up in the floating world suffer. Despite myself, I fret over them all night And cannot staunch my flow of tears. Taigu Ryokan (1758-1831)
The heroic stars spending themselves,
Cooling their very flesh into bullets for the lost battle,
They must burn out at length like used candles;
And Mother Night will weep in her triumph, taking home her heroes.
There is the stuff for an epic poem -
This magnificent raid on the heart of darkness, their lost battle -
We don't know enough, we'll never know.
Oh happy Homer, taking the stars and the Gods for granted.