Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Wang Wei (699-759)

In Answer

In these quiet years growing calmer,

Lacking knowledge of the world’s affairs,

I stop worrying how things will turn out.

My quiet mind makes no subtle plans.

Returning to the woods I love

A pine-tree breeze rustles in my robes.

Mountain moonlight fills the lute’s bowl,

Shows up what learning I have left.

If you ask what makes us rich or poor

Hear the Fisherman’s voice float to shore.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Li Qi (690-751)


Through the bright day up the mountain, we scan the sky for a war-torch;
At yellow dusk we water our horses in the boundary river;
And when the throb of watch-drums hangs in the sandy wind,
We hear the guitar of the Chinese Princess telling her endless woe....
Three thousand miles without a town, nothing but camps,
Till the heavy sky joins the wide desert in snow.
With their plaintive calls, barbarian wild geese fly from night to night,
And children of the Tartars have many tears to shed;
But we hear that the Jade Pass is still under siege,
And soon we stake our lives upon our light war chariots.
Each year we bury in the desert bones unnumbered,
Yet we only watch for grape-vines coming into China.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

A Fisherman

Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind.
A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure.
Dusk rain on the river, the moon peeking in and out of the clouds;
Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night after night.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Han Shan (9th cent.)

I settled at Cold Mountain long ago,

Already it seems like years and years.

Freely drifting, I prowl the woods and streams

And linger watching things themselves.

Men don't get this far into the mountains,

White clouds gather and billow.

Thin grass does for a mattress,

The blue sky makes a good quilt.

Happy with a stone under head

Let heaven and earth go about their changes.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ho Xuan Huong (1772-1822)

Spring-Watching Pavilion

A gentle spring evening arrives
airily, unclouded by worldly dust.

Three times the bell tolls echoes like a wave.
We see heaven upside-down in sad puddles.

Love's vast sea cannot be emptied.
And springs of grace flow easily everywhere.

Where is nirvana?
Nirvana is here, nine times out of ten.

Ho Xuan Huong

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chuang Tzu (4th cent BC)

Creation and Destruction

When you break something up, you create things.
When you create something, you destroy things.
Material things have no creation or destruction.
Ultimately these concepts connect as one.

Only the enlightened know that they connect as one,
So instead of debating this with your preconceptions,
Approach it in an ordinary way.

Those with this ordinary approach, simply apply the idea.
Those who apply it, connect with it.
Those who connect with it, attain it.
This easily attained understanding is not far off.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chia Tao (779-843)

Seeing Off Shen Miao, Buddhist Master

Mists of willow catkin
are falling
on the roads
of western Szechwan.

We meet-
then suddenly spring is over;
your teachings imparted,
you go alone,

traveling fast, with rain
in far mountains;
sleeping late, after
a night of storm.

Of the trees
around your cottage-
when you return,
their leaves should be vermilion.

Chia Tao

Monday, April 22, 2013

Po Chu-i (772-845)

Written While on Night Duty at the Palace, to Send to Yuan Ninth

Ten thousand threads of thought, two sheets written:
before sealing them, I read them over, wonder if they’ll do.
The palace water clock has just sounded the fifth watch,
the lamp in the window, my one light, about to go out.

Sunday, April 21, 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.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Du Fu (712-770)

Clearing Rain
Du Fu

The sky's water has fallen, and autumn clouds are thin,
The western wind has blown ten thousand li.
This morning's scene is good and fine,
Long rain has not harmed the land.
The row of willows begins to show green,
The pear tree on the hill has little red flowers.
A hujia pipe begins to play upstairs,
One goose flies high into the sky.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

No one really knows
The nature of birth
Nor the true dwelling place.
We return to the source
And turn to dust.

Many paths lead
from the foot of the mountain,
But at the peak
We all gaze at the
Single bright moon.

If at the end of our journey
There is no final
Resting place,
Then we need not fear
Losing our Way.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chia Tao (779-843)

Spring Travel

Keeping on and on,
a traveler gets farther, farther away;
dust of the world
follows an indefatigable horse.

A traveler's feelings
after the sun's rays slant-
colors of spring
in the morning mist.

The river's flow heard
at the empty inn-
flowers just blooming
at the old palace.

I think of home
a thousand li away;
wind off the pond
stirs in green willows.

Chia Tao

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Su Tung-P'o (1037-1101)

Impromptu Verse, again

Su Tung-P’o

1037-1101 CE
(translated by William P. Coleman)

With white hair that the wind’s blown — frosted, loose —
in this small pavilion, I lie on a rattan mat seeming sick.

The doctor says spring sleep is beautiful;
The Taoist softly rings the bell for 5th watch.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ki no Tsurayuki (872-945)

A mountain cherry

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

Ki no Tsurayuki

Sunday, April 14, 2013

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

Shih Ching #16

This sweet pear, this great shady tree
Don’t you dare prune it, much less cut at it!
The good Lord Shao found
friendly shade beneath once.

This sweet pear, this great shady tree
Don’t you dare clip it, much less do damage to it!
The good Lord Shao spoke true beneath it often.

This sweet pear, this great shady tree
Don’t you dare clip, don’t bend a twig of it…
Here the good Lord Shao gave honest judgement, always

Saturday, April 13, 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.

Friday, April 12, 2013

T'ao Ch'ien (365-427)

Reading the Classic of Hills and Seas

In the summer grass and trees have grown.

Over my roof the branches meet.

Birds settle in the leaves.

I enjoy my humble place.

Ploughing’s done, the ground is sown,

Time to sit and read my book.

The narrow deeply-rutted lane

Means my friends forget to call.

Content, I pour the new Spring wine,

Go out and gather food I’ve grown.

A light rain from the East,

Blows in on a pleasant breeze.

I read the story of King Mu,

See pictures of the Hills and Seas.

One glance finds all of heaven and earth.

What pleasures can compare with these?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Han Shan (9th.cent.)

Men ask the way to Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain: there's no through trail.

In summer, ice doesn't melt

The rising sun blurs in swirling fog.

How did I make it?

My heart's not the same as yours.

If your heart was like mine

You'd get it and be right here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Li Po (Li Bai-701-762)

Ballads Of Four Seasons: Spring

The lovely Lo Fo of the western land
Plucks mulberry leaves by the waterside.
Across the green boughs stretches out her white hand;
In golden sunshine her rosy robe is dyed.
'my silkworms are hungry, I cannot stay.
Tarry not with your five-horse cab, I pray.'

Monday, April 1, 2013

Han Yu (768-824)

Snow in Spring

The new year's come, but still the plants don't grow,
First in March I'm startled by grass shoots.
The white snow thinks the colours of spring are late,
So through the pavilion and trees it flies like blossom.