Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cao Cao (155-220)

Walking from Xiamen and Looking at the Blue Sea
East of Jieshi mountain, I gaze at the blue sea.
The water dances so gently, the mountain island towers.
Trees here grow thick, a hundred grasses are lush.
The autumn wind soughs, great waves rise up.
The path of the sun and moon, seems to come from within.
The splendid Milky Way, seems to come from inside.
Oh, I am so lucky, to be singing my song!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kim Su Yong (1921-1968)

Grass by Kim Su-yŏng

The grass is lying flat.

Fluttering in the east wind that brings rain in its train,

the grass lay flat

and at last it wept.

As the day grew cloudier, it wept even more

and lay flat again.

The grass is lying flat.

It lies flat more quickly than the wind.

It weeps more quickly than the wind.

It rises more quickly than the wind.

The day is cloudy, the grass is lying flat.

It lies low as the ankles

low as the feet.

Though it lies flat later than the wind,

it rises more quickly than the wind

and though it weeps later than the wind,

it laughs more quickly than the wind.

The day is cloudy, the grass's roots are lying flat.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Du Fu (712-770)

Jade dew withers and wounds the groves of maple trees,
On Wu mountain, in Wu gorge, the air is dull and drear.
On the river surging waves rise to meet the sky,
Above the pass wind and cloud join the earth with darkness.
Chrysanthemum bushes open twice, weeping for their days,
A lonely boat, a single line, my heart is full of home.
Winter clothes everywhere are urgently cut and measured,
Baidicheng above, the evening's driven by beating on stones.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tzu Yeh (4th cent.)

I will carry my coat and not put on my belt;
With unpainted eyebrows I will stand at the front window.
My tiresome petticoat keeps on flapping about;
If it opens a little, I shall blame the spring wind.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ono no Komachi (825-900)

As I dozed

As I dozed
The man I love
Appeared, so
It is dreams that
Have begun to comfort me

Ono no Komachi

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Li Po (Li Bai-701-762)


See how the Yellow River's waters move out of heaven.
Entering the ocean, never to return.
See how lovely locks in bright mirrors in high chambers,
Though silken-black at morning, have changed by night to snow.
...Oh, let a man of spirit venture where he pleases
And never tip his golden cup empty toward the moon!
Since heaven gave the talent, let it be employed!
Spin a thousand pieces of silver, all of them come back!
Cook a sheep, kill a cow, whet the appetite,
And make me, of three hundred bowls, one long drink!
...To the old master, Cen,
And the young scholar, Danqiu,
Bring in the wine!
Let your cups never rest!
Let me sing you a song!
Let your ears attend!
What are bell and drum, rare dishes and treasure?
Let me be forever drunk and never come to reason!
Sober men of olden days and sages are forgotten,
And only the great drinkers are famous for all time.
...Prince Chen paid at a banquet in the Palace of Perfection
Ten thousand coins for a cask of wine, with many a laugh and quip.
Why say, my host, that your money is gone?
Go and buy wine and we'll drink it together!
My flower-dappled horse,
My furs worth a thousand,
Hand them to the boy to exchange for good wine,
And we'll drown away the woes of ten thousand generations!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Taigu Ryokan(1758-1831)

Down In The Village

Down in the village
the din of
flute and drum,
here deep in the mountain
everywhere the sound of the pines.

Taigu Ryokan

Friday, November 23, 2012

Saigyo Hoshi (1118-1190)

limitations gone

limitations gone
since my mind fixed on the moon
clarity and serenity
make something for which
there's no end in sight


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shih Ching (10th-7th cent BC)

Shih Ching #16

This sweet pear, this great shady tree
Don’t you dare prune it, much less cut at it!
The good Lord Shao found
friendly shade beneath once.

This sweet pear, this great shady tree
Don’t you dare clip it, much less do damage to it!
The good Lord Shao spoke true beneath it often.

This sweet pear, this great shady tree
Don’t you dare clip, don’t bend a twig of it…
Here the good Lord Shao gave honest judgement, always.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tao Qian (365-427)

Drinking wine

Tao Qian

365-427 CE
(translated by William P. Coleman)

I’ve made my home among people,
yet I hear no noise of cart horses.

You ask how am I able to do that?
A heart in a far place seeks its own.

I pick chrysanthemums from the east hedge
and gaze, at leisure, on South Mountain.

In this mountain air, day is beautiful — and night too;
birds fly out, then return together.

These facts all have a clear meaning;
I want to argue for my points, but already forget to speak.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Li Po (Li Bai- 701-762)


"The sun has set, and a mist is in the flowers;
And the moon grows very white and people sad and sleepless.
A Zhao harp has just been laid mute on its phoenix holder,
And a Shu lute begins to sound its mandarin-duck strings....
Since nobody can bear to you the burden of my song,
Would that it might follow the spring wind to Yanran Mountain.
I think of you far away, beyond the blue sky,
And my eyes that once were sparkling
Are now a well of tears.
...Oh, if ever you should doubt this aching of my heart,
Here in my bright mirror come back and look at me!"

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Han Shan (c. 9th cent.)


I wanted a good place to settle:

Cold Mountain would be safe.

Light wind in a hidden pine -

Listen close - the sound gets better.

Under it a gray haired man

Mumbles along reading Huang and Lao.

For ten years I havn't gone back home

I've even forgotten the way by which I came.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Midang So Chong-Ju (1915-2000)

Beside a chrysanthemum by Midang Sŏ Chŏng-ju

For one chrysanthemum to bloom

a nightingale

has sobbed since spring, perhaps.

For one chrysanthemum to bloom


has pealed in dark clouds, perhaps.

Flower! Like my sister standing

at her mirror, just back

from far away, far away byways of youth,

where she was racked with longing and lack:

last night's frost came down

to bid your yellow petals bloom, perhaps,

while I could not get to sleep.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

T'ao Ch'ien (365-427)

Reading the Classic of Hills and Seas

In the summer grass and trees have grown.
Over my roof the branches meet.

Birds settle in the leaves.

I enjoy my humble place.

Ploughing’s done, the ground is sown,

Time to sit and read my book.

The narrow deeply-rutted lane

Means my friends forget to call.

Content, I pour the new Spring wine,

Go out and gather food I’ve grown.

A light rain from the East,

Blows in on a pleasant breeze.

I read the story of King Mu,

See pictures of the Hills and Seas.

One glance finds all of heaven and earth.

What pleasures can compare with these?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wang Wei (699-759)

Autumn Evening in a Mountain Retreat

After the rain,
the empty mountain
at dusk
is full of autumn air.
A bright moon
shines between the pines;
The clear spring water
glides over the rocks.
Bamboo leaves rustling –
the washer-girls bound home.
Water lilies swaying –
a fisher-boat goes down.
Never mind that
spring plants are no longer green.
I am here to stay
my noble friends!
•by Wang Wei

Monday, November 12, 2012

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

A monk sips morning tea

A monk sips morning tea,
it's quiet,
the chrysanthemum's flowering.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Huang O (1498-1569)

To the tune “Soaring Clouds”
You held my lotus blossom
In your lips and played with the
Pistil. We took one piece of
Magic rhinoceros horn
And could not sleep all night long.
All night the cock’s gorgeous crest
Stood erect. All night the bee
Clung trembling to the flower
Stamens. Oh my sweet perfumed
Jewel! I will allow only
My lord to possess my sacred
Lotus pond, and every night
You can make blossom in me
Flowers of fire.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Li Ching Chao (1084-1151)

As in a Dream

To the melody of "Ru Meng Lin"

Last night in the light rain as rough winds blew,
My drunken sleep left me no merrier.
I question one that raised the curtain, who
Replies: "The wild quince trees -- are as they were."
But no, but no!
Their rose is waning, and their green leaves grow.

Li Ching Chao

Friday, November 9, 2012

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)


Do you remember how when we were young we soared.
Now, we're old and hobble around on foot.

Then, we were so full of ideas and bold
We even put water in the clouds.
Now we poke at the snow with our walking sticks,
And worry about frost and wind.

Well... you're famous now.
Your literary works are widely known.
Your reputation has reached all the way to the Palace.
The king, I understand, is quite impressed.

Now, living in the mountains meets all my wishes.
I can boast about having known you "then"...
So send me a letter to prove it - and don't forget
To include some of your poignant verse.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Li Qi (690-751)


Through the bright day up the mountain, we scan the sky for a war-torch;
At yellow dusk we water our horses in the boundaryriver;
And when the throb of watch-drums hangs in the sandy wind,
We hear the guitar of the Chinese Princess telling her endless woe....
Three thousand miles without a town, nothing but camps,
Till the heavy sky joins the wide desert in snow.
With their plaintive calls, barbarian wildgeese fly from night to night,
And children of the Tartars have many tears to shed;
But we hear that the Jade Pass is still under siege,
And soon we stake our lives upon our light warchariots.
Each year we bury in the desert bones unnumbered,
Yet we only watch for grape-vines coming into China.

Yu Xuanji (844-869)

the late spring

by Yu Xuanji

lovers seldom come to this deep alley
their spirits have to linger on in dreams

whose fragrance of damask is this?
from which tower does this breeze blow the song?

sounds of drums in the street
disturb my morning sleep
magpies chirping in the courtyard
confuse my spring sorrows

how can I care
for things of this world?
ten thousand miles, my life,
like a boat unmoored

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lao Tzu (c.604 BC -531 BC)


When the Great Tao (Way or Method) ceased to be observed,
benevolence and righteousness came into vogue. (Then) appeared wisdom
and shrewdness, and there ensued great hypocrisy.

When harmony no longer prevailed throughout the six kinships,
filial sons found their manifestation; when the states and clans fell
into disorder, loyal ministers appeared.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Du Mu (803-852)

Entering Shangshan

I enter Shangshan early, under a hundred miles of cloud,
Beneath the bridge a blue stream, the sound of the water divided.
The flowing water's old sound reaches the ears of the old,
This time I cannot bear to listen to its call.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bai Juyi (772-846)

Zhuangzi, The Monist
Bai Juyi

Zhuangzi levels all things
And reduces them the same Monad.
But I say that even in their sameness
Difference may be found.
Although in following the promptings of their nature
They display the same tendency,
Yet it seems to me that in some ways
A phoenix is superior to a reptile!

Friday, November 2, 2012

T'se Ken Tan - Vegetable Root Discourses

Only when humbled does one realize the danger of climbing.
Only when obscured does one know of the pain of being in the limelight.
In tranquility, you would realize the stress of exercise.
Keep your lips sealed, and you shall know how foolish verbosity is.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Po Chu-i (772-846)

Autumn’s Cold

here’s my snowy crown
time’s tinted decrepitude
there’s the frost in the courtyard
autumn’s glittery breath
now I’m sick and just watching my wife
pick cure-alls
then I’m frozen waiting for the maid
to comb my hair
without the body
what use fame?
worldly things
I’ve put aside
I delve my heart
determined now
to learn from Empty Boats!