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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thoughts in Early Winter
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.
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.
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.
A single path mounts the peak,
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.