Head in hand, I look at the paper leaf;
It is still white.
I look at the ink
Dry on the end of my brush.
My soul sleeps.
Will it ever wake?
I walk a little in the pouring of the sun
And pass my hands over the higher flowers.
There is the soft green forest,
There are the sweet lines of the mountains
Carved with snow, red in the sunlight.
I see the slow march of the clouds,
I hear the crows jeering, and I come back
To sit and look at the paper leaf,
Which is still white
Under my brush.
From the Chinese of Chang-Chi (770-850).