Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)


Mountain living! There's deep meaning here!
A place where your spirits open up without limit.
Lean on a pine trunk for your pillow.
Wake from your nap and make yourself some tea.

Mountain living! No guests arriving!
The path through the bamboo grove is locked in smoke and mist.
Near the front door a clear brook flows
The wind carries small flowers on the water.

Mountain living! Spring comes so early.
Plum blossoms are everywhere you look.
Their subtle fragrance captures the attention of your nose.
See or smell the slanting branch just outside the window.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Li Bai (699-762)

A Farewell Song of White Clouds
Li Bai

The white clouds float over the mountains of Chu--
As over the Mountains of Qin.
Everywhere the white clouds will follow you on.

They will follow you on everywhere--
With you they will enter the Chu mountains,
And cross the waters of the Xiang.

Yonder across the waters of the Xiang,
There is a cloak of ivy to wear,
And you may lie in a bed of white clouds.

Go swiftly home, O my friend!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Qiwu Qian (692-749)


Thoughtful elation has no end:
Onward I bear it to whatever come.
And my boat and I, before the evening breeze
Passing flowers, entering the lake,
Turn at nightfall toward the western valley,
Where I watch the south star over the mountain
And a mist that rises, hovering soft,
And the low moon slanting through the trees;
And I choose to put away from me every worldly matter
And only to be an old man with a fishing-pole.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ai Qing (1910-1996)

Confronting Sunrise
Ai Qing

From the graveyards of the distant past
From the age of darkness
From humanity's death-doomed flow
Startling mountain ranges from deep sleep
Like a wheel of fire hovering over sand dunes
The sun rolls toward me

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ryokan Taigu (1758-1831)

Autumn's first drizzle:
How delightful,
The nameless mountain.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Tenchi Tenno (628-681)

Coarse the rush-mat roof
Sheltering the harvest-hut
Of the autumn rice-field;--
And my sleeves are growing wet
With the moisture dripping through

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wei Yingwu (737-792)


From office confinement all year long,
I have come out of town to be free this morning
Where willows harmonize the wind
And green hills lighten the cares of the world.
I lean by a tree and rest myself
Or wander up and down a stream.
...Mists have wet the fragrant meadows;
A spring dove calls from some hidden place.
...With quiet surroundings, the mind is at peace,
But beset with affairs, it grows restless again....
Here I shall finally build me a cabin,
As Tao Qian built one long ago.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Loy Ching-Yuen (1873-1960)

To Know Tao
To know Tao
and still the mind.
Knowledge comes with perseverance.

The Way is neither full nor empty;
a modest and quiet nature understands this.
The empty vessel, the uncarved block;
nothing is more mysterious.

When enlightenment arrives
don't talk too much about it;
just live it in your own way.
With humility and depth, rewards come naturally.

The fragrance of blossoms soon passes;
the ripeness of fruit is gone in a twinkling.
Our time in this world is so short,
better to avoid regret:
Miss no opportunity to savor the ineffable.

Like a golden beacon signaling on a moonless night,
Tao guides our passage through this transitory realm.
In moments of darkness and pain
remember all is cyclical.
Sit quietly behind your wooden door:
Spring will come again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wang Wei (699-759)

Bamboo Grove Retreat
Wang Wei

Alone in secluded bamboo grove,
Picking my lute, whistling loudly.
Deep in a forest unknown to men,
Then the moon comes
shares its light with me.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Han Wu Emperor Liu Che (156BC-78AD)

Far and distant in the Sky hangs the Cowherd Star
Far and distant in the Sky hangs the Cowherd Star,
Bright on the Heavenly River floats the Weaving Maid:
Graceful and delicate her snowy hands pull out
The shuttles that make tedious scrunching sounds.
The day’s ended, and she can weave not a piece,
Her tears falling like broken rain-strings.
How clear and shallow the Galaxy River looks,
But how they are kept away from each other:
There is only a river between them, and yet
No words can get across despite their deep love.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wei Yingwu (737-792)


Furling my sail near the town of Huai,
I find for harbour a little cove
Where a sudden breeze whips up the waves.
The sun is growing dim now and sinks in the dusk.
People are coming home. The bright mountain-peak darkens.
Wildgeese fly down to an island of white weeds.
...At midnight I think of a northern city-gate,
And I hear a bell tolling between me and sleep.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saigyo (1118 - 1190 / Japan)

Winds Of Autumn
Even in a person
most times indifferent
to things around him
they waken feelings
the first winds of autumn


Friday, August 19, 2011

Su Shi (1037-1101)

Bell Mountain Evening Moon
Su Shi 1036-1101

Ten thousand ravines
thousands of cliffs
night not yet spent,
Pines and my white hair
share green moonlight.
In this celestial place
not a single human voice,
Who burns cypress incense
in heaven's golden palace?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Du Fu (712-770)

In Abbot Zan's Room at Dayun Temple
The lamplight shines on my sleeplessness,
My mind clear, I smell the splendid incense.
Deep in the night, the hall rears up high,
The wind stirs, and gold is heard to clank.
The black sky masks the springtime court,
To the pure earth clings a hidden fragrance.
The Jade Rope wheels round and is cut,
The iron phoenix seems about to soar.
Sanskrit sometimes flows out from the temple,
The lingering bells still echo round my bed.
Tomorrow morning in the fertile field,
I'll bitterly behold the yellow dirt.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nguyen Du (1765-1820)

Early On The Road To Phoenix Citadel
Nguyen Du

For love of country
I must face the road,
The night dim drizzle
The moon sinks
to the sound of a gibbon's wail,
Man's path is to push onward.
But strong or weak
one fears the road,
My hair's too short
to block the wind.
Stopping over night in a village
I meet woodsman,
We're both pitiful
but have little else on common.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wei Yingwu (737-792)


Wistful, away from my friends and kin,
Through mist and fog I float and float
With the sail that bears me toward Loyang.
In Yangzhou trees linger bell-notes of evening,
Marking the day and the place of our parting....
When shall we meet again and where?
...Destiny is a boat on the waves,
Borne to and fro, beyond our will.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Su Shi (1037-1101)

Awaking on a Boat at Night
Su Shi 1036-1101

A light breeze soughs quietly,
blowing river grasses.
I open the hatch expecting rain;
moonlight fills the lake.
Boatman and river birds
share the same dream;
A large fish suddenly jumps
and dives like a darting fox.
Late at night people and creatures
are oblivious of each other,
While in my case alone, form and shadow
delight each other.
The dark tide appears at the bank,
pity the cold crawlers,
The setting moon hangs in the willow,
see the spider suspended.
In this hurried life,
spent amid worries and troubles,
Pure scenes pass before the eyes--
how long can they last?
Cocks crow, bells sound,
flocks of birds take flight.
Drums beat on the bow,
shout answers shout.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)


Cold smoke lingers like fog around a single lit house.
Like a lonely star the house rises up out of the cloud.

The ground is red like the inside of a fish's cheeks.
The mountains dark blue like a spiral conch's flared headdress.

Around half the pond grow poet Tao Qian's willows
And every ten miles stands one of Lord Xie Lingyun's pavilions.

To say Hello and Goodbye to such congenial and famous guests
Takes my breath away! Gives me a heady feeling
That's pretty hard to match.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wang Anshi (1021-1086)

Brocade Valley
Wang Anshi

Returning home I smile, enjoy the sweet dawn,
Good to come home to this famous mountain..
Meeting by chance
in high spirits
we start out,
Invite ourselves to visit Brocade Valley in spring.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chang Jian (708-765)

Chang Jian

Here, beside a clear deep lake,
You live accompanied by clouds;
Or soft through the pine the moon arrives
To be your own pure-hearted friend.
You rest under thatch in the shadow of your flowers,
Your dewy herbs flourish in their bed of moss.
Let me leave the world. Let me alight, like you,
On your western mountain with phoenixes and cranes.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kuan Han-Ch'ing (1240-1320)

Idle Wandering
go where my mind will
sit when my heart's still
drink when I'm thirsty
and sing when I'm drunk
when hard times come
I find a pile of grass and sleep
the days and months are long
the world is vast
and idleness is happiness

toss off the vintage wine
use up the raw
laugh beside the earthen pot
ha, ha, ha,
hum harmonies together with this rude old mountain bonz
he has a pair of chickens
I've brought along a duck
and idleness is happiness

I've reined mind's horses
locked up my monkey heart
leapt up from red dust and evil-mannered wind
who woke me from my shady dreams of Empire?
I've left the field of honor
and wormed into a nest of joys
where idleness is happiness

he's ploughed the southern field
and slept among the eastern hills
I've been the way the world goes, often
vainly measured bygones in my mind
he's the saint
and I'm the fool
who'd argue that?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)


The Buddha, The Reverend One of the World, ascended the Snowy Peak.
Whoever witnessed this?

Relying on the heartlessness of my sword
I went and cut off all my black hair.

Whatever the style, a surface appearance is essentially just that -
the outside of something.
Whatever the determination, a plan to perform any Dharma method is
essentially just that - an interior scheme.

Only the person who gets rid of within and without
Escapes from birth and death and ascends to eternity.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Feng-kan (750?-850?)

Sinking like a rock in the sea
Sinking like a rock in the sea
drifting through the Three Worlds
poor ethereal creature
ever immersed in scenes
until a flash of lightning shows
life and death are dust in space

Monday, August 8, 2011

Li Bo (699-762)

Ancient Air #52
Li Bo

Verdant springtime runs with the reckless rapids;
Crimson-bright summer swiftly eddies past.
It's unbearable to see the autumn tumbleweeds
wheel aimlessly, nowhere to light.
The illumined breeze of clearing skies
destroys the orchid,
White dew spatters the tender bean shoots.
The Fair One will not wait for me,
Though grass and tree wither day by day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cheng Hao (1032-1085)

Visiting Crecsent Pond
Cheng Hao 1032-1085

We circle the shore of Crescent Pond
To the north is a tower that touches the sky
The world has changed in the autumn air
We pour a cup for the evening chill
The image of a cloud pauses on the water
The sound of a stream lingers beneath the trees
Our tasks are endless there's no need to count
Let's meet again our next day off

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Ryokan Taigu (1758-1831)


When all thoughts
Are exhausted
I slip into the woods
And gather
A pile of shepherd's purse.

Like the little stream
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly
Turn clear and transparent.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Du Fu (712-770)


Who is lovelier than she?
Yet she lives alone in an empty valley.
She tells me she came from a good family
Which is humbled now into the dust.
...When trouble arose in the Kuan district,
Her brothers and close kin were killed.
What use were their high offices,
Not even shielding their own lives? --
The world has but scorn for adversity;
Hope goes out, like the light of a candle.
Her husband, with a vagrant heart,
Seeks a new face like a new piece of jade;
And when morning-glories furl at night
And mandarin-ducks lie side by side,
All he can see is the smile of the new love,
While the old love weeps unheard.
The brook was pure in its mountain source,
But away from the mountain its waters darken.
...Waiting for her maid to come from selling pearls
For straw to cover the roof again,
She picks a few flowers, no longer for her hair,
And lets pine-needles fall through her fingers,
And, forgetting her thin silk sleeve and the cold,
She leans in the sunset by a tall bamboo.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bai Juyi (722-846)

At Xiangshan Temple, Escaping the Heat
Bai Juyi

Sound of the sixth-month rapids like a fierce rain;
Xiangshan, upper floor morth, Master Wenchang's room:
late at night I get up, standing leaning on the railing,
the roar of the water filling my ears, coolness full in my face.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Han Shan (750)

Once, my back wedded to the solid cliff,
I sat silently, bathed in the full moon's light.

I counted there ten thousand shapes,
None with substance save the moon's own glow.

The pristine mind is empty as the moon,
I thought, and like the moon, freely shines.

By what I knew of moon I knew the mind,
Each mirror to each, profound as stone.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Liu Zongyuan (773-819)

Entering Yellow Stream and Hearing an Ape
The road and stream bend for a thousand li,
Sorrowfully, an ape somewhere calls.
The lonely servant’s tears are now exhausted,
The heartbreaking sound is in vain.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Zhuangzi (350 BC)

Free and Easy Wandering
Zhuangzi 350 BC

In the northern darkness
there is a fish
his name is Kun.
The kun is so large
I don't know
how many thousand li he measures.
He changes and becomes a bird
whose name is Peng.
The back of Peng
measures I don't know
how many li across and
when he rises up and fies off
his wings are like clouds
all over the sky.
When the sea begins to move
this bird flies off
to the southern darkness
which is the lake of heaven.