In honor of the first day of Autumn we share with you this poem by Lu Xun (1881 – 1936), who was a leading figure of modern Chinese literature. Writing in Vernacular Chinese as well as Classical Chinese, Lu Xun was a short story writer, editor, translator, literary critic, essayist, and poet. In the 1930s he became the titular head of the League of ‘Left-Wing Writers’ group in Shanghai.
Startled by the awe of autumn that reigns over the earth,
Dare I instill the warmth of spring into the tip of my pen?
In this vast sea of dust a hundred feelings have sunk;
In the rustling wind a thousand officials have fled.
In old age, I return to the lake, only to find no reeds on which to rest;
On vacant clouds, my dreams fall; a chill numbs hair and teeth.
My longings for cockcrow in the wilderness encounter only silence.
I rise to watch the setting constellations.