--Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011), in his posthumous book Mortality
Remembering the past with Ziyou at Mianchi Temple
When it comes down to it, what is human life like?
It must be like a flying swan that alights on snow or mud.
Sometimes it leaves footprints on the mud.
Then the swan flies off-- where? to the east? to the west?...
--Su Shi (蘇軾) (1037-1101), also known as Su Dongpo (蘇東坡). Ziyou was his younger brother, Su Che (蘇轍).
Only this evening I saw again low in the sky
the evening star, at the beginning of winter, the star
that in spring will crown every western horizon,
again...as if it came back, as if life came back,
not in a later son, a different daughter, another place,
but as if evening found us young, still young,
still walking in a present of our own....
--Wallace Stevens (1879-1955)