Selected Modern Chinese Essays: An Inkwash Painting

◎ Guo Moruo

The sky was a sheet of murky grey, completely devoid of sunlight.

The sea was a ghastly dark blue. The gentle waves licking at the shore gave forth a humming sound like that of fish in shoals.

All that foreboded a storm.

Some isles in the sea stood quiet and still like ebony sculptures.

I walked towards the sandy beach carrying my lunch-box and then sat inside a fishing boat moored at the seashore.

What an insipid and dreary scene! I opened the lunch-box only to have it covered up again.

Looking back, I caught sight of a lonely crematorium looming out of a pine wood. Its towering red-brick chimney was giving off wisps of greyish smoke.