The bright, thin, new moon appears,
tipped askew in the heavens.
It no sooner shines over
the ruined fortress than the
evening clouds overwhelm it.
The Milky Way shines unchanging
over the freezing mountains
of the border. White frost covers
the garden. The chrysanthemums
clot and freeze in the night.
(One Hundred Poems from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth, p.17)
New ways to trade sneak into your mind like a new moon. Thoughts like mist float into your awareness, insubstantial but promising. “The bright, thin, new moon appears . . . .” At first these thoughts seem wrong . . . even dangerous. These thoughts seem “tipped askew in the heavens.” These new ideas threaten to overwhelm your fortress of accepted thinking. However, that fortress is already ruined and soon to be overwhelmed by a new and different trading perspective (the new moon). “It no sooner shines over the ruined fortress than the evening clouds overwhelm it.”
You still haven’t crossed the border, leaving the old thinking behind to embrace new thought. The old perspective lurks in the background, unchanging and frozen. “The Milky Way shines unchanging over the freezing mountains of the border.” The coldness of the old ways still permeates the garden inhibiting new growth. “White frost covers the garden.” Although “the chrysanthemums clot and freeze in the night,” there is hope that they will thaw during the day. The new replaces the old.