KO UN - “New Year’s Full Moon”
Bitter cold day, the new year’s first full moon,
a special day.
One housewife, busy from early morning,
knowing that beggars will be coming by,
puts out a pot of five-grain rice in anticipation
on the stone mortar
that stands beside her brush-wood gate,
with a single side-dish of plantain-shoots.
Soon, an ancient beggar comes breezing up,
makes ready to spin a yarn but finally
just pockets the rice and goes on his way.
If only we had 360 more days like today in a year!
His bag is soon bulging.
As he is leaving the village, his turn made,
he runs into another beggar:
You’ve no call to go there, I’ve done em all!
Let’s us celebrate a Fool Moon too!
Snapping dried twigs, they make a fire
to thaw themselves by, then
producing hunks of rice from this house and that,
the two beggars set to,
choking, laughing with mouths full.
Soon bands of magpies hear the news
and flock flapping around.