Autumn begins unnoticed. Nights slowly lengthen,
and little by little, clear winds turn colder and colder,
summer’s blaze giving way. My thatch hut grows still.
At the bottom stair, in bunchgrass, lit dew shimmers.
Gathering firewood I enter mountain depths,
mountain depths rising creek beyond creek
choked with the timbers of bridges in ruins.
Vines tumble low, tangled over cragged paths,
and at dusk, scarce people grow scarcer still.
Mountain wind sweeping through simple robes,
my chant steady, I shoulder a light bundle,
watch smoke drift across open country home.
Excerpted from The Mountain Poems of Meng Hao-Jan by Meng Hao-Jan. Copyright © 2004 by Meng Hao-Jan. Excerpted by permission of Archipelago, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.