Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Han Shan (8 AD)

I spur my horse through the wrecked town,

The wrecked town sinks my spirit.

High, low, old parapet walls

Big, small, the aging tombs.

I waggle my shadow, all alone;

Not even the crack of a shrinking coffin is heard.

I pity all those ordinary bones,

In the books of the Immortals they are nameless.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Saigyo (1118-1190)

How wonderful

How wonderful, that
Her heart
Should show me kindness;
And of all the numberless folk,
Grief should not touch me.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Taigu Ryokan (1758-1831)

Blending With The Wind

Blending with the wind,
Snow falls;
Blending with the snow,
The wind blows.
By the hearth
I stretch out my legs,
Idling my time away
Confined in this hut.
Counting the days,
I find that February, too,
Has come and gone
Like a dream.

Taigu Ryokan

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Li Qingzhao (1084-1155)

The migrant songbird on the bough wet with dew
brings tears to my eyes with her melodious trills—
this fresh downpour rewetting the stains of older spills;
another spring gone, and still no word from you ...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hui Yuan (334-416)

Lushan Outing
Hui Yuan

Sublime crags
spit out pristine Qi,
In remote alpine cave
traces of marvelous practice.
I fancy I hear
sounds of ancient pipes,
Flowing from the mountain
in a light rain.
Only this traveler
alone in shadowy netherworld,
Along the path
I shed worldly cares.
Wave my hands high
grasp Cloud Gate,
A numinous barrier
silently penetrated.
My beating heart
knock, knock, knock'in
on Heaven's Door,
I savor its elixer within me.
Gallop to Seventh Heaven,
Effortlessly soaring on high.
What fun to be one
with this subtle universe,
In a flash
I comprehend
the Three Mysteries.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Li Po (701-762)

Ancient Air

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.

Li Po

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Yang Wan-li (1127-1206)

Listening to the Rain

A year ago my boat, homeward bound,
moored at Yen-ling -
I was kept awake all night by the rain
beating against the sails.
Last night the rain fell on the thatched roof
of my house.
I dreamed of the sound of rain
beating against the sails.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chia Tao (779-843)

Abode of the Unplanned Effect

The grass-covered path
is secluded and still,
A closed door faces
the Chungnan Mountains??

In the evening the air’s chilly
but the light rain stops,
At dawn, far off,
a few cicadas start

Leaves fall
where no green earth remains
a person at his ease
wears a plain robe

With simplicity and plainness
his original nature still,
what need to practice
“calming of the heart”

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ho Xuan Huong (1772-1822)

Day and Night

Peekaboo we used to play;
my hands covered my face,
your hands covered your face,
incredible, there we were gone.

That is what we play now, your
hands on my face and my hands
on your eyes. Incredible
how we disappear into each other.

Ho Xuan Huong

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Su Tung Po (1037-1101)

Pu suan tzu

A fragment moon hangs from the bare tung tree
The water clock runs out, all is still
Who sees the dim figure come and go alone
Misty, indistinct, the shadow of a lone wild goose?

Startled, she gets up, looks back
With longing no one sees
And will not settle on any of the cold branches
Along the chill and lonely beach

Su Tung-po

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wang Wei (699-759)


Middle-aged now, following the Way.

Settled at evening near the Chungnan slopes.

Delight, and I wander off by myself

Searching for what I need to see alone.

I climb up to the roots of the streams,

Sit and watch the White Clouds pass,

Meet the old man of the woods,

Talk and laugh, forget to go home.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Yang Wan-li (1127-1206)

Cold Sparrows

Hundreds of cold sparrows dive into the empty courtyard,
cluster on plum branches and speak of sun after rain at dusk.
They choose to gather en masse and kill me with noise.
Suddenly startled, they disperse. Then, soundlessness.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Li Po (Li Bai 701-762)

Before The Cask of Wine

The spring wind comes from the east and quickly passes,
Leaving faint ripples in the wine of the golden bowl.
The flowers fall, flake after flake, myriads together.

You, pretty girl, wine-flushed,
Your rosy face is rosier still.
How long may the peach and plum trees flower
By the green-painted house?
The fleeting light deceives man,
Brings soon the stumbling age.

Rise and dance
In the westering sun
While the urge of youthful years is yet unsubdued!
What avails to lament after one's hair has turned white
like silken threads?

Li Po

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Xue Tao (768-831)

Sending Old Poems to Yuan Zhen

Everyone writes poems in their own manner
but only I know delicacy of wind and light,
and when writing of flowers in moonlight, lean towards the
Of a willow in rainy dawn I write how twigs hang down.
They say green jade should stay hidden deep,
but I write candidly on red-lined paper.
I'm old now but can't stop writing
so I open myself to you as if I were a good man.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Wang Han (678-740)

By Tang Poet Wang Han
Translated by Laijon Liu

Tasteful grape wine
Shining in my jade cup
That sparks the night.

Let’s drink off
On our horse
In the harmony of our guitars.

Oh you, please do not laugh
If we all get drunk
And fall asleep in the battlefield,

Since ancient time,
How few come back
From the campaigns and wars?

Note: Guitar is actually six string instrument call Pipa.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Li Qiao (c. Tang Dynasty)

Li Qiao

In the third month of autumn it blows down the leaves,
It can open up the second month's flowers.
On the river, waves of a thousand feet,
Among the bamboo, ten thousand dry and slanting.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lady Akazome Emon (956-1041)

Better to have slept
Care-free, than to keep vain watch
Through the passing night,
Till I saw the lonely moon
Traverse her descending path.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Po Chu-i (772-846)

After Lunch

After lunch–one short nap;
On waking up–two cups of tea.
Raising my head, I see the sun’s light
Once again slanting to the southwest.
Those who are happy regret the shortness of the day;
Those who are sad tire of the year’s sloth.
But those whose hearts are devoid of joy or sadness
Just go on living, regardless of ’short’ or ’long’.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hui K'o (4th cent.)

No me: Dharmas all

Death, Life, small
Heart of mystery's
know, and see.

The Truth cries out
where the arrow strikes the target.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Taigu Ryokan (1758-1831)

Blending With The Wind

Blending with the wind,
Snow falls;
Blending with the snow,
The wind blows.
By the hearth
I stretch out my legs,
Idling my time away
Confined in this hut.
Counting the days,
I find that February, too,
Has come and gone
Like a dream.

Taigu Ryokan

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ki no Tsurayuki

A mountain cherry
Through the drifting mists
Seen thus there is a lady
I long for all the more.

Ki no Tsurayuki

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Li Po (Li Bai 701-762)

A Song Of Changgan

My hair had hardly covered my forehead.
I was picking flowers, paying by my door,
When you, my lover, on a bamboo horse,
Came trotting in circles and throwing green plums.
We lived near together on a lane in Ch'ang-kan,
Both of us young and happy-hearted.

...At fourteen I became your wife,
So bashful that I dared not smile,
And I lowered my head toward a dark corner
And would not turn to your thousand calls;
But at fifteen I straightened my brows and laughed,
Learning that no dust could ever seal our love,
That even unto death I would await you by my post
And would never lose heart in the tower of silent watching.

...Then when I was sixteen, you left on a long journey
Through the Gorges of Ch'u-t'ang, of rock and whirling water.
And then came the Fifth-month, more than I could bear,
And I tried to hear the monkeys in your lofty far-off sky.
Your footprints by our door, where I had watched you go,
Were hidden, every one of them, under green moss,
Hidden under moss too deep to sweep away.
And the first autumn wind added fallen leaves.
And now, in the Eighth-month, yellowing butterflies
Hover, two by two, in our west-garden grasses
And, because of all this, my heart is breaking
And I fear for my bright cheeks, lest they fade.

...Oh, at last, when you return through the three Pa districts,
Send me a message home ahead!
And I will come and meet you and will never mind the distance,
All the way to Chang-feng Sha.

Li Po

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ding Xianzhi

Crossing the Yangtze
Ding Xianzhi fl. 713-741

My oars of cassia I gaze from midstream
The sky and waves and both shores are clear
The treeline parts at the Yangtze ferry
Hills rise up from the Junzhou walls
The edge of the sea is dark and silent
A chill wind comes from the river's cold
Again I hear maple leaves falling
The brittle sounds of another autumn

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wang Wei (699-759)

A Reply

I have a place on the Chungnan slopes.

Sitting there you can see the Mountains.

No one there, no guests, the gate is closed.

No plans all day, just time and silence.

Nothing stops you gazing and dreaming.

Why not come and try to find me there?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Tsu Shi (1037-1101)

Flower Shadows

by: Tsu Shi

translated by Herbert A. Giles

Thickly o'er the jasper terrace flower shadows play;
In vain I call my garden boy to sweep them all away.
They vanish when the sun sets in the west, but very soon
They spring to giddy life again beneath the rising moon.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Li Shangyin (813-858)


Gone is the guest from the Chamber of Rank,
And petals, confused in my little garden,
Zigzagging down my crooked path,
Escort like dancers the setting sun.
Oh, how can I bear to sweep them away?
To a sad-eyed watcher they never return.
Heart's fragrance is spent with the ending of spring
And nothing left but a tear-stained robe.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Meng Haoran (690-740)


Here in the Eighth-month the waters of the lake
Are of a single air with heaven,
And a mist from the Yun and Meng valleys
Has beleaguered the city of Youzhou.
I should like to cross, but I can find no boat.
...How ashamed I am to be idler than you statesmen,
As I sit here and watch a fisherman casting
And emptily envy him his catch.