Prose on the sound of autumn
Ouyang Xiu, 1007 - 1072
When I was reading one night, I heard some strange sound in southwest. In the beginning it was like the patter of rain that intermingled with the soughing wind. A few moments later the sound surged up as violent as a rainstorm, lashing the world with metal striking sound, or as rushing as troops hurrying to the front at night - no word of command could be heard but footfall of the soldiers and clatter of horse hooves. I asked the boy, What is the sound? Please look around. When he came back he said, The stars are bright and the moon hung in the sky. There is nobody out there but some sound from trees. Then I realized it's the sound of the autumn. Alas! The autumn had come before I knew it.
The scene in autumn is bleak, when clouds begin to melt and the fog rises; the air in autumn is fresh, when the sky is clear and sunlight is crystalline; the weather in autumn is cool, when there is a nip in the air; the rhythm of autumn is slow, when streams becomes quiet and hillsides becomes desolate. With all these changes, the sound of autumn is plaintive and sometimes wailing. Lush and verdant as they were in the summer, the grass changes its color and trees shed their leaves as soon as autumn wind rises. This is because autumn brings the year to an end.