On Mirror Lake outspread for miles and miles,
The lotus lilies in full blossom teem.
In fifth moon Xi Shi gathers them with smiles,
Watchers o'erwhelm the bank of Yuoye Stream.
Her boat turns back without waiting moonrise
To yoyal house amid amorous sighs.
when he opens his eyes, in the ceiling
there's a nail. he looks at it for ten minutes straight.
as soon as he opens his eyes, he sees this nail, in the ceiling
it's been like that for ten years straight.
so ten years ago, the nail was in the ceiling
not in his eye.
back then, as soon as he'd opened his eyes, he'd go to work — no, to the loo.
now he doesn't go to work, and he doesn't need the loo, so once he's awake
all he does is stare at the nail. the nail drops down, into his left eye.
his left eye is kaput, and can't see the nail. his right eye ain't kaput
and can't see the nail either, because the nail is now gone from the ceiling.
there's a hole in the ceiling, just like in his left eye
there's a hole. so at that hole in the ceiling
he looks with his right eye. he'll be a long time looking
before the alarm goes off, at the first glimmer of dawn
Nine years staring down the wall
what did he achieve?!
Liang and Wei mountains and rivers
happily are not poor.
Likewise this master
who came from the west
has No meaning,
Shaolin spring rain
also autumn typhoons.
Behold the glow of the moon
illumine the world's four quarters
perfect light in perfect space
a radiance that purifies
people say it waxes and wanes
but I don't see it fade
just like a magic pearl
it shines both night and day
In the pure morning, near the old temple,
Where early sunlight points the tree-tops,
My path has wound, through a sheltered hollow
Of boughs and flowers, to a Buddhist retreat.
Here birds are alive with mountain-light,
And the mind of man touches peace in a pool,
And a thousand sounds are quieted
By the breathing of a temple-bell.
Under blue mountains we wound our way,
My boat and 1, along green water;
Until the banks at low tide widened,
With no wind stirring my lone sail.
...Night now yields to a sea of sun,
And the old year melts in freshets.
At last I can send my messengers --
Wildgeese, homing to Loyang.
Though life is brief, feeling is everlasting;
That is why man wants to live long.
The sun and moon follow the stars.
The whole world loves this name.
The dew is cold, and the warm wind drops;
The air is penetrating, the day bright.
The departing swallow leaves no shadow;
The returning wild goose brings a lingering cry.
Wine can wash away a hundred woes,
And chrysanthemums set a pattern for old age.
Why should I, a hermit,
Gaze vacantly at the change of seasons?
The ministers are ashamed of their empty grain jars.
The autumn chrysanthemums are alone in their beauty.
I alone sing while fastening my garments.
A feeling of melancholy stirs deep within me.
It is true that there is much amusement in living,
But in idling is there no accomplishment?
Don't have to stretch your mind too far, nor too many things to keep.
A couple of rocks on a shallow dish
can assume miles of mountains and rivers.
A couple of words and statements can reveal the mind of a great saint. Knowing it shows the insights of an intellectual.
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.
On the third day of the Third-month in the freshening weather
Many beauties take the air by the Changan waterfront,
Receptive, aloof, sweet-mannered, sincere,
With soft fine skin and well-balanced bone.
Their embroidered silk robes in the spring sun are gleaming --
With a mass of golden peacocks and silver unicorns.
And hanging far down from their temples
Are blue leaves of delicate kingfisher feathers.
And following behind them
Is a pearl-laden train, rhythmic with bearers.
Some of them are kindred to the Royal House --
The titled Princesses Guo and Qin.
Red camel-humps are brought them from jade broilers,
And sweet fish is ordered them on crystal trays.
Though their food-sticks of unicorn-horn are lifted languidly
And the finely wrought phoenix carving-knife is very little used,
Fleet horses from the Yellow Gate, stirring no dust,
Bring precious dishes constantly from the imperial kitchen.
...While a solemn sound of flutes and drums invokes gods and spirits,
Guests and courtiers gather, all of high rank;
And finally, riding slow, a dignified horseman
Dismounts at the pavilion on an embroidered rug.
In a snow of flying willow-cotton whitening the duckweed,
Bluebirds find their way with vermilion handkerchiefs --
But power can be as hot as flame and burn people's fingers.
Be wary of the Premier, watch for his frown.
INSCRIBED ON THE WALL OF AN INN
NORTH OF DAYU MOUNTAIN
They say that wildgeese, flying southward,
Here turn back, this very month....
Shall my own southward journey
Ever be retraced, I wonder?
...The river is pausing at ebb-tide,
And the woods are thick with clinging mist --
But tomorrow morning, over the mountain,
Dawn will be white with the plum-trees of home.
Against the City of the Yellow Dragon
Our troops were sent long years ago,
And girls here watch the same melancholy moon
That lights our Chinese warriors --
And young wives dream a dream of spring,
That last night their heroic husbands,
In a great attack, with flags and drums,
Captured the City of the Yellow Dragon.
While the year sinks westward, I hear a cicada
Bid me to be resolute here in my cell,
Yet it needed the song of those black wings
To break a white-haired prisoner's heart....
His flight is heavy through the fog,
His pure voice drowns in the windy world.
Who knows if he be singing still? - -
Who listens any more to me?
If heaven loved not the wine,
A Wine Star would not be in heaven;
If earth loved not the wine,
The Wine Spring would not be on the earth.
Since heaven and earth love the wine,
Need a tippling mortal be ashamed?
The transparent wine, I hear,
Has the soothing virtue of a sage,
While the turgid is rich, they say,
As the fertile mind of the wise.
Both the sage and the wise were drinkers,
Why seek for peers among gods and goblins?
Three cups open the grand door to bliss;
Take a jugful, the universe is yours.
Such is the rapture of the wine,
That the sober shall never inherit.
Birds Calling in the Ravine
I'm idle, as osmanthus flowers fall,
This quiet night in spring, the hill is empty.
The moon comes out and startles the birds on the hill,
They don't stop calling in the spring ravine.
FAREWELL TO VICE-PREFECT DU
SETTING OUT FOR HIS OFFICIAL POST IN SHU
By this wall that surrounds the three Qin districts,
Through a mist that makes five rivers one,
We bid each other a sad farewell,
We two officials going opposite ways....
And yet, while China holds our friendship,
And heaven remains our neighbourhood,
Why should you linger at the fork of the road,
Wiping your eyes like a heart-broken child?
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.