Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Kim So-wŏl (1902-1934)

Azaleas by Kim So-wŏl

When seeing me sickens you

and you walk out

I'll send you off without a word, no fuss.

Yongbyon's mount Yaksan's


by the armful I'll scatter in your path.

With parting steps

on those strewn flowers

treading lightly, go on, leave.

When seeing me sickens you

and you walk out

why, I'd rather die than weep one tear.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

this ink painting of wind
blowing through pines
who hears it?

oh yes things exist like the echo when you yell
at the foot of a huge mountain

sin like a madman until you can't do anything else
no room for any more

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Chen Shidao (1052-1102)

Viewing Qiantang Bore On The 17th
*****Chen Shidao

Great white rainbow races to sleek sands,
Heaven's jade wine cup shakes, overturns.
Blue sky staggers, yaws on green river,
Late sun bobs, bounces in unruly waves.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Chuang Tzu (4th cent. BC)

The Giant Peng Bird

In the Northern Sea there is a fish
Its name is Kun
The great size of Kun
We know not how many thousand leagues

Its name is Peng
The wingspan of Peng
We know not how many thousand leagues
It surges into flight.

Its wings are like the clouds that hang from the sky
This bird, when the ocean begins to heave
Will travel to the Southern Sea
The Southern Sea - the heavenly pond
trans. by Derek Lin

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dogen Zenji (1200-1253)

A Zen monk asked for a verse:
by Eihei Dogen

"Mind itself is buddha" -- difficult to practice, but easy to explain;
"No mind, no buddha" -- difficult to explain, but easy to practice.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Li Po (Li Bai - 701-762)

Climbing West Of Lotus Flower Peak

Amongst the grandeur of Hua Shan
I climb to the Flower Peak,
and fancy I see fairies and immortals
carrying lotus in their
sacred white hands, robes flowing
they fly filling the sky with colour
as they rise to the palace of heaven,
inviting me to go to the cloud stage
and see Wei Shu-ching, guardian angel
of Hua Shan; so dreamily I go with them
riding to the sky on the back
of wild geese which call as they fly,
but when we look below at Loyang,
not so clear because of the mist,
everywhere could be seen looting
armies, which took Loyang, creating
chaos and madness with blood
flowing everywhere; like animals of prey
rebel army men made into officials
with caps and robes to match.

Li Po :

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Zhang Jiu Ling (678-740)

Thinking afar in moonlight
A bright moon rising over the sea,
Shores apart, watching the same
Is someone dear to me.
I loath this endless night;
And could not sleep but think of thee.
In this full moon light,
Who cares for candlelight?
Stepping out I don my gown,
And feel dew on the ground.
I wish to offer you moonlight in a handful,
But, to my real shame, ‘tis impossible.
Retirng to my bed, it seems,
I might find happier days in dreams.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Wang Wei (699-759)

Returning to Songshan Mountain
Wang Wei

The limpid river runs between the bushes,
The horse and cart are moving idly on.
The water flows as if with a mind of its own,
At dusk, the birds return to perch together.
The desolate town is faced by an ancient ferry,
The setting sun now fills the autumn hills.
And far below high Songshan's tumbling ridges,
Returning home, I close the door for now.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Yuan Zhengzhen (1806-1864)

paddling the lake

to the tune of changxiangsi (long lovesickness)

by Yuan Zhengzhen

to the north
to the south
mountains loom in the clouds

these mountains, this lake,
this scene
as if painted

I pluck a lotus
for pleasure

paddling a red boat
west to east

no path to the one I miss

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Gotoku Daiji No Sadaijin

When I looked to see
How one tiny cuckoo bird
Could make all that song,
The moon of early morning,
But only the moon, remained.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Saigyo Hoshi (1118-1190)

Winds Of Autumn

Even in a person
most times indifferent
to things around him
they waken feelings
the first winds of autumn


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Fan Zhongyan (989-1052)

To the Tune of Su Mu Zhe

Blue cloudy sky

Yellow leave ground

Autumnal waves

Under cold blue mist.

Hills cathch the setting sun, sky and water emerge.

Unfeeling, fragrant grasses grow

On and on past the setting sun.

Unhappy homesick soul

Obsessed with travel cares—

Night brings no relief

Except when pleasant dreams prolong the sleep.

Don’t look out alone when the moon shines—

The wine in your melancholy heart

Will turn to tears of longing.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jang Seok-Nam

Hanging Plum-Blossom

After examining the stump of the plum-tree outside the gate buried years ago,
there being as yet no sign,
back in my room after adjusting my icy shadow,
I unrolled and hung up on the eastward wall a painting of pink plum-blossom
by Master Ko-San.
Plum-blossom painting was a favorite pastime of people long ago, so suppose I
wash my face, at least, sit down and greet the old days?
On branches extending hesitantly to the left, five fully blooming flowers,
three buds;
after bending it again, on the branches appearing on that part four buds now spread,
uh uh, five,
so on which of them do I wish I was now?
The love in retrospect
and the void in anticipation are crystal clear.

After full consideration, going out with icy shoulders
I once again squat before the plum-tree stump.
As the sound of evening bells comes close at dusk,
darkness comes, rocks come,
and someone’s eyes come too,
come . . .

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hsieh Ling-yun (385-433)

Dwelling in the Mountains #6

Here where I live,
lakes on the left, rivers on the right,
you leave islands, follow shores back

to mountains out front, ridges behind.
Looming east and toppling aside west,

they harbor ebb and flow of breath,
arch across and snake beyond, devious

churning and roiling into distances,
clifftop ridgelines hewn flat and true.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tao Qian (132-194)

Drinking Wine
Tao Qian

I made my home amidst this human bustle,
Yet I hear no clamour from the carts and horses.
My friend, you ask me how this can be so?
A distant heart will tend towards like places.
From the eastern hedge, I pluck chrysanthemum flowers,
And idly look towards the southern hills.
The mountain air is beautiful day and night,
The birds fly back to roost with one another.
I know that this must have some deeper meaning,
I try to explain, but cannot find the words.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)


Heaven turns so slowly and gently, it tolerates my age.
Without mercy, days and months advance to cut off my time.

I return to my cave in the mountain, but the trees are all gone.
I look down on the river and all I see are meandering curves.
The sun is captured in a cage of delicate clouds.
I listen to the wind.

Suddenly I hear the Temple Bell!
The sound comes washing over me,
Waking me from the dusty labor of my thoughts.
And distant heaven opens wider and wider to me.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Li Ching-chao (1084-1155)

Li Qingzhao (Li Ching-chao, 1084-1155)
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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 ...

Sunday, November 3, 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.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Kuan Han-Ch'ing (1241-1320)

Idle Wandering
by Kuan Han-Ch'ing

English version by Jerome P. Seaton
Original Language Chinese

go where my mind will
sit when my heart's still
drink when I'm thirsty
and sing when I'm drunk
when hard times come
I find a pile of grass and sleep
the days and months are long
the world is vast
and idleness is happiness

toss off the vintage wine
use up the raw
laugh beside the earthen pot
ha, ha, ha,
hum harmonies together with this rude old mountain bonz
he has a pair of chickens
I've brought along a duck
and idleness is happiness

I've reined mind's horses
locked up my monkey heart
leapt up from red dust and evil-mannered wind
who woke me from my shady dreams of Empire?
I've left the field of honor
and wormed into a nest of joys
where idleness is happiness

he's ploughed the southern field
and slept among the eastern hills
I've been the way the world goes, often
vainly measured bygones in my mind
he's the saint
and I'm the fool
who'd argue that?