Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Han Yu (768-824)

All plants, aware that spring will soon be gone,
Their brightest rose bud purple hues put on:
And from each emulous bloom
Is shed a sweet perfume.

Only the willow-catkins and elm-keys,
In their simplicity, with every breeze
Over the heavens go
Flying like flakes of snow.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

My Hovel

The world before my eyes is wan and wasted, just like me.
The earth is decrepit, the sky stormy, all the grass withered.
No spring breeze even at this late date,
Just winter clouds swallowing up my tiny reed hut.

Ikkyu Sojun

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Midang So Chong-ju

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.

Cao Cao (155-220)

Cao Cao: Short Walk Song

Short Walk Song
By Cao Cao of Three Kingdoms
Translated by Laijon Liu 20100103

Hold wine cup I sing:
How shall our life be?
Like the morning dew,
With the days of grief.
Even if we are fervent,
But sorrows never fade.
What to solve sadness?
Probably only drinks.
The long scholar belt
Tied my will and heart.
For talents and friends
I sigh and chant to now.
Like a deer I call n call,
In the green field I look
For all my good guests
I play my music for all.

Oh the moon so bright
And when can I pluck?
Now my sorrow comes
That it will never cease.
By the road and the path
They come lowly to dwell.
Between farewell n feast,
My heart misses their grace
Bright moon n sparse stars,
The crows flying to south.
They spiral over the trees
To find a branch to perch
Mountain or hills, tall or low
Ocean or lakes, deep or small
The great king bows n prays
For the good service of all!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chen Ziang (661-702)

On Climbing You-Chou Terrace

Ahead I cannot see the ancient faces,
Behind I cannot see the coming sages.
I brood upon the endlessness of Nature,
Lonely and sick at heart, with falling tears.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Han Shan (c.9th cent.)

In the mountains it's cold.
Always been cold, not just this year.
Jagged scarps forever snowed in
Woods in the dark ravines spitting mist.
Grass is still sprouting at the end of June,
Leaves begin to fall in early August.
And here I am, high on mountains,
Peering and peering, but I can't even see the sky.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Lady Murasaki Shikibu (c. 973)

Meeting on the path:
But I cannot clearly know
If it was he,
Because the midnight moon
In a cloud had disappeared.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Du Fu (Tu Fu 712-770)

Jueju, No. 2 of 2 (The River's Blue, The Bird a Perfect White)
Du Fu

The river's blue, the bird a perfect white,
The mountain green with flowers about to blaze.
I've watched the spring pass away again,
When will I be able to return?

Friday, August 23, 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.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Yang Wan-li (1127-1206)

On a Portrait of Myself

The pure wind makes me chant poems.
The bright moon urges me to drink.
Intoxicated, I fall among the flowers,
heaven my blanket, earth my pillow.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Vegetable Roots Discourse (C.1090)

There is an old saying:
The bamboo shadow cannot dust off the steps.
The sun penetrates the pond leaving no trace on the water.
Our Scholar says :
Though the stream flows swiftly by, the scene is forever still.
While the flowers are wilting rapidly, my mind is cool.
Treats things this way and how at ease I would be.

Tuesday, August 20, 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, August 19, 2013

Shih Ching-Book of Odes (10th-7th cent BC)

'Fair, fair,' cry the ospreys

On the island in the river.

Lovely is this noble lady,

Fit bride for our lord.

In patches grows the water mallow:

To left and right one must seek it.

Shy was this noble lady;

Day and night he sought her.

Sought her and could not get her;

Day and night he grieved.

Long thoughts, oh, long unhappy thoughts,

Now on his back, now tossing on to his side.

In patches grow the water mallow;

To left and right one must gather it.

Shy is this noble lady;

With great zithern and little we hearten her.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Po Chu-i (772-846)

Written on Sung Mountain’s Eastern Cliffs in Early Spring

Skies clearing above thirty six peaks,
kingfisher-blue mists rise over snowmelt.

The moon’s drifted through three nights
now, spring opening across four mountains

grasses turning distances an early green
while cold birds leave silence unchanged.

Here below the highest of these east cliffs:
nothing but a name l'’ve scrawled on rock

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Li Po (Li Bai 701-762)

Ballads Of Four Seasons: Summer

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.

Li Po

Friday, August 16, 2013

Xue Tao (768-831)

Hearing Cicadas

Washed clean by dew, cicada songs go far
and like windblown leaves piling up
each cicada's cry blends into the next.
Yet each lives on its own branch.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Li Shang-yin (813-858)

"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.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gao Shi (702-765)

North Tower of Gold City
***** Gao Shi

From the north tower the western sky is clear,
Mountains joined by surging river better than painting.
Torrent's gush, swish flight of arrows,
Crescent moon over ramparts, bow arched taunt.
I dangle my fishing rod like old man Lu,
Strive for some tranqillity on the border.
But why so many brutal border wars?
Until now Tartar flutes complain without end.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Su Shi (1037-1101)

Visiting the Temple of Auspicious Fortune Alone on Winter Solstice
Su Shi

Deep at the bottom of the well no warmth has yet returned,
The rain which sighs and feels so cold has dampened withered roots.
What sort of man at such a time would come to visit the teacher?
As this is not a time for flowers, I find I've come alone.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wang Wei (699-759)

Green-Water Stream

To reach the Yellow-Flowered River

Go by the Green-Water Stream.

A thousand twists and turns of mountain

But the way there can’t be many miles.

The sound of water falling over rocks

And deep colour among pines.

Gently green floating water-plants.

Bright the mirrored reeds and rushes.

I am a lover of true quietness.

Watching the flow of clear water

I dream of sitting on the uncarved rock

casting a line on the endless stream.

Note: The uncarved rock is the Tao. The endless stream is the Tao.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Song Zhiwen (c.660-710)


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.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ki no Tsurayuki (872-945)

A cuckoo

A cuckoo to
A man on Pine Mount
Calls and so
Suddenly within me
Yearning overflows.

Ki no Tsurayuki

Friday, August 9, 2013

Su Tung P'o (1037-1101)

Battle of Red Cliff

The Yangtze flows east
Washing away
A thousand ages of great men
West of the ramparts --
People say --
Are the fabled Red Cliffs of young Chou of the Three Kingdoms
Rebellious rocks pierce the sky
Frightening waves rip the bank
The backwash churns vast snowy swells --
River and mountains like a painting
how many heroes passed them, once ...

Think back to those years, Chou Yu --
Just married to the younger Chiao --
Brave, brilliant
With plumed fan, silk kerchief
Laughed and talked
While masts and oars vanished to flying ash and smoke!
I roam through ancient realms
Absurdly moved
Turn gray too soon --
A man's life passes like a dream --
Pour out a cup then, to the river, and the moon

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ikyyu Sojun (1394-1481)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
One night . . . a pitiful -looking skeleton appeared and said these words:

A melancholy autumn wind
Blows through the world;
The pampas grass waves,
As we drift to the moor,
Drift to the sea.

What can be done
With the mind of a man
That should be clear
But though he is dressed up in a monk’s robe,
Just lets life pass him by?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Yang Wanli (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.

Yang Wanli

Du Fu (712-770)

Du Fu

The cows and sheep are moving slowly down,
Each villager has shut his wicker gate.
The wind and moon disturb the clear night,
This landscape of rivers and hills is not my homeland.
A spring flows from the stones of a darkening cliff,
The autumn dew drips on the grass's roots.
My white head is within the brightness of the lamp,
What need for the flower to flourish so?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

Spring passes by

again and again in layers

of blossom kimono

may you see wrinkles

come with old age

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lady Murasaki Shikibu (c.973)

Lady Murasaki Shikibu

Meeting on the path:
But I cannot clearly know
If it was he,
Because the midnight moon
In a cloud had disappeared.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Du Mu (803-852)

Mountain Travel
Du Mu

Far away on the cold mountain, a stone path slants upwards,
In the white clouds is a village, where people have their homes.
I stop the carriage, loving the maple wood in the evening,
The frosted leaves are redder than the second month's flowers.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Yang Wan-li (1127-1206)

Don’t read books…
It’s so much better
to close your eyes sit in your study
lower the curtains, sweep the floor,
burn incense.
take a walk when you feel energetic,
and when you’re tired go to sleep.