Stretch Out Your Hands To Me

by Bei Dao, b.1949, China. Translation by Bonnie S. McDougall. Stretch out your hands to me
don’t let the world blocked by my shoulder
disturb you any longer
if love is not forgotten
hardship leaves no memory
remember what I say
not everything will come to pass
if there is only one last aspen
standing tall at the end of the road
like a gravestone without an epitaph
the falling leaves will also speak
fading paling as they tumble
slowly they freeze over
holding our heavy footprints
of course no one knows tomorrow
tomorrow begins from another dawn
when we will be fast asleep

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By Kahlil Gibran, 1883-1931, Lebanon.

I have seen a face with a thousand countenances, and a face that was but a single countenance as if held in a mould.
I have seen a face whose sheen I could look through to the ugliness beneath, and a face whose sheen I had to lift to see how beautiful it was.
I have seen an old face much lined with nothing, and a smooth face in which all things were graven.
I know faces, because I look through the fabric my own eye weaves, and behold the reality beneath.

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Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, 1207-1273, Balkh.

Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.

Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.

Walk out like somebody suddenly born into color.

Do it now.
You’re covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side.

and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you’ve died.

Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.

The speechless full moon
comes out now.

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