Friday, August 31, 2012
Since yesterday had throw me and bolt,
Today has hurt my heart even more.
The autumn wildgeese have a long wing for escort
As I face them from this villa, drinking my wine.
The bones of great writers are your brushes, in the school of heaven,
And I am Lesser Hsieh growing up by your side.
We both are exalted to distant thought,
Aspiring to the sky and the bright moon.
But since water still flows, though we cut it with our swords,
And sorrow return,though we drown them with wine,
Since the world can in no way answer our craving,
I will loosen my hair tomorrow and take to a fishing-boat.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
I couldn’t want another life. This is my
true calling, working fields and mulberries
with my own two hands. I’ve never failed it,
and still, against hunger and cold, there’s
only hull and chaff I’m not asking for more
than a full stomach. All I want is enough
common rice, heavy clothes for winter and
open-weaves for the summer heat-nothing
more. But I haven’t even managed that. O,
it can leave you stricken so with grief
And character is fate. If you’re simple-
minded in life, its ways elude you. That’s
how it is. Nothing can change it. But then,
I’ll delight in even a single cup of wine.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
The Rain-soaked Bell
A cold cicada, sad and desolate,
Faces the long pavilion at twilight,
The showers having recently ceased.
Outside the city gate, drinking in the tent continues
I am about to linger awhile,
When the magnolia boat urges me to start my journey.
Holding hands, we look into each other's tearful eyes -
Without words, throats choked -
As I think of my voyage through a thousand miles
of mists and waves.
Where the evening clouds are somber and the distant skies vast.
Lovers have suffered since ancient times the
sorrows of parting.
How can I bear further my solitude in
this clear autumn season?
Where shall I be when I wake up from my drink tonight? -
Willow banks, the breeze at dawn, and the waning moon.
During this long year of separation,
All fine moments and lovely scenes will appear to me in vain.
Even if there are a thousand varieties of tender emotion,
To whom could I impart them now?
While I watch the moon go down, a crow caws through the frost;
Under the shadows of maple-trees a fisherman moves with his torch;
And I hear, from beyond Suzhou, from the temple on Cold Mountain,
Ringing for me, here in my boat, the midnight bell.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
One mote flying up dims the sky;
One speck of dust covers the earth.
Is there anything to compare with wearing of clothes and eating of food?
Beyond this there is no Buddha or Bodhisattva.
To know the original Mind, the essential Mature,
This is the great disease of (our) religion.
The Tathagata's True-Law Eye-Treasury, --
It is just like two mirrors reflecting each other.
It cannot be attained by mind;
It is not to be sought after through mindlessness.
It cannot be created by speech;
It cannot be penetrated by silence.
The geese do not wish to leave their reflection behind;
The water has no mind to retain their image.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Gone Again to Gaze on the Cascade
A whole life without speaking,
"a thunderous silence"
that was Wei-ma's Way.
And here is a place where no monk can preach.
I understand now what T'ao Ch'ien, enlightened,
said, he couldn't say.
It's so clear, here, this water
Sunday, August 26, 2012
nature's a killer I won't sing to it
I hold my breath and listen to the dead singing under the grass
suddenly nothing but grief
so I put on my father's old ripped raincoat
when I was forty-seven everybody came to see me
so I walked out forever
my monk friend has a weird endearing habit
he weaves sandals and leaves them secretly by the roadside
even before trees rocks I was nothing
when I'm dead nowhere I'll be nothing
no nothing only those wintry crows
bright black in the sun
Friday, August 24, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Its massive height near the City of Heaven
Joins a thousand mountains to the corner of the sea.
Clouds, when I look back, close behind me,
Mists, when I enter them, are gone.
A central peak divides the wilds
And weather into many valleys.
...Needing a place to spend the night,
I call to a wood-cutter over the river.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
To the Tune of Like a Dream
I always remember the sunset
over the pavalion by the river.
So tipsy, we could not find our way home.
Our interest exhausted, the evening late,
we tried to turn the boat homeward.
By mistake, we entered deep within the lotus bed.
Row! Row the boat!
A flock of herons, frightened,
suddenly flew skyward.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Sunday, August 19, 2012
A Song of Departure by Li Ching Chao
Warm rain and soft breeze by turns
Have just broken
And driven away the chill.
Moist as the pussy willows,
Light as the plum blossoms,
Already I feel the heart of Spring vibrating.
But now who will share with me
The joys of wine and poetry?
Tears streak my rouge.
My hairpins are too heavy.
I put on my new quilted robe
Sewn with gold thread
And throw myself against a pile of pillows,
Crushing my phoenix hairpins.
Alone, all I can embrace is my endless sorrow.
I know a good dream will never come.
So I stay up till past midnight
Trimming the lamp flower’s smoking wick.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
Look upon the body as unreal,
an image in a mirror,
the reflection of the moon in water.
Contemplate the mind as formless,
yet bright and pure.
Not a single thought arising,
empty, yet perceptive;
still, yet illuminating;
complete like the great emptiness,
containing all that is wonderful.
- Han Shan Te'-Ch'ing, 1600
Thursday, August 16, 2012
A Green Stream. by Wang Wei
I have sailed the River of Yellow Flowers,
Borne by the channel of a green stream,
Rounding ten thousand turns through the mountains
On a journey of less than thirty miles....
Rapids hum over heaped rocks;
But where light grows dim in the thick pines,
The surface of an inlet sways with nut-horns
And weeds are lush along the banks.
...Down in my heart I have always been as pure
As this limpid water is....
Oh, to remain on a broad flat rock
And to cast a fishing-line forever!
REMEMBERING MY BROTHERS ON A MOONLIGHT NIGHT
A wanderer hears drums portending battle.
By the first call of autumn from a wildgoose at the border,
He knows that the dews tonight will be frost.
...How much brighter the moonlight is at home!
O my brothers, lost and scattered,
What is life to me without you?
Yet if missives in time of peace go wrong --
What can I hope for during war?
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I climb up high and look on the four seas,
Heaven and earth spreading out so far.
Frost blankets all the stuff of autumn,
The wind blows with the great desert's cold.
The eastward-flowing water is immense,
All the ten thousand things billow.
The white sun's passing brightness fades,
Floating clouds seem to have no end.
Swallows and sparrows nest in the wutong tree,
Yuan and luan birds perch among jujube thorns.
Now it's time to head on back again,
I flick my sword and sing Taking the Hard Road.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Monday, August 13, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012
Thursday, August 9, 2012
THE CITY OF STONES. (NANKING)
BY LIU YÜ-HSI
HILLS surround the ancient kingdom; they never change.
The tide beats against the empty city, and silently, silently, returns.
To the East, over the Huai River – the ancient moon.
Through the long, quiet night it moves, crossing the battlemented wall.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
The ways of heaven are mysterious,
the spirits pose a problem.
Since childhood, I struggled to do right—
forty-four years of struggle.
Things went bad when I was twenty.
At thirty, I lost my wife.
Fires burned my houses down
and weevils ate my grain.
Winds and rain ruined everything:
I couldn’t fill a mouth.
In summer, we went hungry;
in winter we all slept cold.
Evenings, we longed for the cock crow;
at dawn, we chased away the crows.
It’s my own poor karma, not heaven,
that leaves me troubled and bitter.
A name unearned, left for all the ages,
means no more to me than mist.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
A NIGHT-VIGIL IN THE LEFT COURT OF THE PALACE
Flowers are shadowed, the palace darkens,
Birds twitter by for a place to perch;
Heaven's ten thousand windows are twinkling,
And nine cloud-terraces are gleaming in the moonlight.
...While I wait for the golden lock to turn,
I hear jade pendants tinkling in the wind....
I have a petition to present in the morning,
All night I ask what time it is.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Sunday, August 5, 2012
AFTER GETTING DRUNK, BECOMING SOBER IN THE NIGHT
Our party scattered at yellow dusk and I came home to bed;
I woke at midnight and went for a walk, leaning heavily on a friend.
As I lay on my pillow my vinous complexion, soothed by sleep, grew sober;
In front of the tower the ocean moon, accompanying the tide, had risen.
The swallows, about to return to the beams, went back to roost again ;
The candle at my window, just going out, suddenly revived its light.
All the time till dawn came, still my thoughts were muddled ;
And in my ears something sounded like the music of flutes and strings.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
A Morning Dream by Li Ching Chao
This morning I dreamed I followed
Widely spaced bells, ringing in the wind,
And climbed through mists to rosy clouds.
I realized my destined affinity
With An Ch'i-sheng the ancient sage.
I met unexpectedly O Lu-hua
The heavenly maiden.
Together we saw lotus roots as big as boats.
Together we ate jujubes as huge as melons.
We were the guests of those on swaying lotus seats.
They spoke in splendid language,
Full of subtle meanings.
The argued with sharp words over paradoxes.
We drank tea brewed on living fire.
Although this might not help the Emperor to govern,
It is endless happiness.
The life of men could be like this.
Why did I have to return to my former home,
Wake up, dress, sit in meditation.
Cover my ears to shut out the disgusting racket.
My heart knows I can never see my dream come true.
At least I can remember
That world and sigh.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Reply to a Friend
English version by Mei Hui Huang and Larry Smith
Original Language Japanese
In stubborn stupidity, I live on alone
befriended by trees and herbs.
Too lazy to learn right from wrong,
I laugh at myself, ignoring others.
Lifting my bony shanks, I cross the stream,
a sack in my hand, blessed by spring weather.
Living thus, I want for nothing,
at peace with all the world.
Your finger points to the moon,
but the finger is blind until the moon appears.
What connection has moon and finger?
Are they separate objects or bound?
This is a question for beginners
wrapped in seas of ignorance.
Yet one who looks beyond metaphor
knows there is no finger; there is no moon.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
A MESSAGE TO CENSOR Du Fu
AT HIS OFFICE IN THE LEFT COURT
Together we officials climbed vermilion steps,
To be parted by the purple walls....
Our procession, which entered the palace at dawn,
Leaves fragrant now at dusk with imperial incense.
...Grey heads may grieve for a fallen flower,
Or blue clouds envy a lilting bird;
But this reign is of heaven, nothing goes wrong,
There have been almost no petitions.