Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ryokan (1758-1831)

Even if you consume as many books
by Ryokan

English version by John Stevens
Original Language Japanese

Even if you consume as many books
As the sands of the Ganges
It is not as good as really catching
One verse of Zen.
If you want the secret of Buddhism,
Here it is: Everything is in the heart

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wang Wei (699-761)

Bamboo Cottage

Alone in the dense bamboo, I sit
playing my lute, humming along.

Lost to this world, who will notice
but the bright moon shining?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fujiwara no Sanekata (?-998)

Fujiwara no Sanekata

How can I tell her
How fierce my love for her is?
Will she understand
That the love I feel for her
Burns like Ibuki's fire plant?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Li Shang-Yin (9th cent.)

"The East Wind Sighs"


The East wind sighs, the fine rains come:

Beyond the pool of water-lilies, the noise of faint thunder.

A gold toad gnaws the lock. Open it. Burn the incense.

A tiger of jade pulls the rope. Draw from the well and escape.

Chia's daughter peeped through the screen when Han the clerk was young.

The goddess of the river left her pillow for the great Prince of Wei.

Never let your heart open with the spring flowers:

One inch of love is an inch of ashes.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Du Fu (712-770)


There are sobs when death is the cause of parting;
But life has its partings again and again.
...From the poisonous damps of the southern river
You had sent me not one sign from your exile --
Till you came to me last night in a dream,
Because I am always thinking of you.
I wondered if it were really you,
Venturing so long a journey.
You came to me through the green of a forest,
You disappeared by a shadowy fortress....
Yet out of the midmost mesh of your snare,
How could you lift your wings and use them?
...I woke, and the low moon's glimmer on a rafter
Seemed to be your face, still floating in the air.
...There were waters to cross, they were wild and tossing;
If you fell, there were dragons and rivermonsters.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Zi Ye (6th-3rd cent. BC)

All night I could not sleep
because of the moonlight on my bed.
I kept on hearing a voice calling:
Out of Nowhere, Nothing answered "yes."

- Zi Ye, Collection of Chinese Folk Songs
6th-3rd century B.C.E.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Saigo (?)

The moon, like you,
is far away from me, but it's our sole memento:
if your look and recall our past through it,
we can be one mind.

- Saigo

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bai Juyi (772-846)

Peach Blossom at Dalin Temple
Bai Juyi

Across the world this June, the petals all have fallen,
But the mountain temple's peach blossom has just begun to bloom.
I regretted so much that spring had gone without a trace,
I didn't know that it had only moved up here.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Layman Pang-yun (740-808)

My daily activities are not unusual,
I'm just naturally in harmony with them.
Grasping nothing, discarding nothing...
Supernatural power and marvelous activity -
Drawing water and carrying firewood.

- Layman Pang-yun

Friday, February 15, 2013

Book of Odes (anon.-1000 BC)

ALL day the wind blew wild.

From the " Book of Odes " by ANON. (c. 1000 B.C.)

ALL day the wind blew wild.

You looked at me and laughed;

But your jest was lewdness and your laughter mockery.

Sick was my heart within.

All day the wind blew with a whirl of dust.

Kindly you seemed to come,

Came not, nor went away.

Long, long I think of you.

The dark wind will not suffer

Clean skies to close the day.

Cloud trails on cloud. Oh, cruel thoughts !

I lie awake and moan.

The sky is black with clouds;

The far-off thunder rolls;

I have woken and cannot sleep, for the thought of you

Fills all my heart with woe.

Odes, L, 3, v.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chen Zi-ang (661-702)

White Emperor City, Brooding On The Past
Chen Zi-ang 661-702

Sunset on Blue River..Late,
Rest the oars, ask about local legends.
Baidicheng towers over Lord Ba's country,
Terrace empty, Han Emperor's palace gone.
Desolate now, once Zhou Dyansty domain,
Deep mountains over Yu's exploits.
Crags jut out, green cliffs sundered,
Menacing land, dark river flows on.
Hoary trees thrive at cloud's edge,
Returning sail cleaves the mist.
River route flows on relentless,
Rambler sits brooding without end.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

T'ao Ch'ien (365-427)


Days and months never take their time.
The four seasons keep bustling each other

away. Cold winds churn lifeless branches.
Fallen leaves cover long paths. We're frail,

crumbling more with each turning year.
Our temples turn white early, and once

your hair flaunts that bleached streamer,
the road ahead starts closing steadily in.

This house is an inn awaiting travelers,
and I yet another guest leaving. All this

leaving and leaving— where will I ever
end up? My old home's on South Mountain.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Li Shang-Yin (813-858)

"Falling Flowers"


The guests are gone from the pavilion high,

In the small garden flowers are whirling around.

Along the winding path the petals lie;

To greet the setting sun, they drift up from the ground.

Heartbroken, I cannot bear to sweep them away;

From my eyes, spring soon disappears.

I pine with passing, heart's desire lost for aye;

Nothing is left but a robe stained with tears.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sho Ka (1991)

Black! crow standing
in his eye all eternity
Long shadows draw

Wild winds abate
In morning's first light
A broken teahouse

Bursting open
The rose dawn fills
My empty universe

No barrier now
Lofty mountain to one
Riding the wind.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1768)

Past, present, future: unattainable
by Hakuin

Past, present, future: unattainable,
Yet clear as the moteless sky.
Late at night the stool's cold as iron,
But the moonlit window smells of plum.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Shen Quanqi (650-729)


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.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Li Ching-jau (1084-1151)

Spring In Wu-ling
by Li Ching-jau (Southern Sung Period, 1135 A.D.)

The wind is still,
The earth smells sweet;
The flowers all have fallen here.

As evening comes,
I comb my hair.

His things remain
But he is gone;
So everything's over.

When I try to speak
The tears well up.

I hear that spring's
Still at its height
At Double Creek ...

I think of going to sail
The light skiffs there,
But alas, I fear
The grasshopper-boats
At Double Creek
Could never bear
So great a weight
Of sorrow.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ono no Komachi (820-900)

Though I go to you
ceaselessly along dream paths,
the sum of those trysts
is less than a single glimpse
granted in the waking world.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tao Qian (365-427)

Returning to Live in the South
Tao Qian

When young, I'd not enjoyed the common pleasures,
My nature's basic love was for the hills.
Mistakenly I fell into the worldly net,
And thus remained for thirteen years.
A bird once caged must yearn for its old forest,
A fish in a pond will long to return to the lake.
So now I want to head to southern lands,
Returning to my fields and orchards there.
About ten acres of land is all I have,
Just eight or nine rooms there in my thatched hut.
There's shade from elms and willows behind the eaves,
Before the hall are gathered peaches and plums.
Beyond the dark and distance lies a village,
The smoke above reluctant to depart.
A dog is barking somewhere down the lane,
And chickens sit atop the mulberry tree.
The mundane world has no place in my home,
My modest rooms are for the most part vacant.
At last I feel released from my confinement,
I set myself to rights again.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Meng Haoran (690-740)

Thoughts in Early Winter
Meng Haoran
Trees shed leaves, and geese are flying south;
The north wind blows, here on the river it's cold.
My home is at the bend of the waters of Xiang,
Far beyond the edge of the clouds of Chu.
Travelling, I've exhausted my tears for home,
I watch a lone sail at the heavens' end.
The ferry's gone- who can I ask where?
Darkness falls beside the level sea.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Li Po (Li Bai-701-762)

A Mountain Revelry

To wash and rinse our souls of their age-old sorrows,
We drained a hundred jugs of wine.
A splendid night it was . . . .
In the clear moonlight we were loath to go to bed,
But at last drunkenness overtook us;
And we laid ourselves down on the empty mountain,
The earth for pillow, and the great heaven for coverlet.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Du Fu (712-770)

A Guest Arrives
Du Fu

South of my hut, north of my hut, all is spring water,
A flock of gulls is all I see come each day.
The floral path has never been swept for a guest,
Today for the first time the rough gate opens for the gentleman.
Far from the market, my food has little taste,
My poor home can offer only stale and cloudy wine.
Consent to have a drink with my elderly neighbour,
At the fence I'll call him, then we'll finish it off.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Shi Chumo (850-900)

Shengguo Temple
Shi Chumo 850-900

A single path mounts the peak,
Winding round
a hermit's cloak appears.
At river bank Wu territory ends,
Beyond many Yue mountains rise.
Ancient trees cluster in blue mist,
Distant sky plunges into white waves.
Below nearby the city walls,
Bell sounds merge with piped song.