To the tune “Soaring Clouds”
by Huang O (1498-1569)
You held my lotus blossom
In your lips and played with the
Pistil. We took one piece of
Magic rhinoceros horn
And could not sleep all night long.
All night the cock’s gorgeous crest
Stood erect. All night the bee
Clung trembling to the flower
Stamens. Oh my sweet perfumed
Jewel! I will allow only
My lord to possess my sacred
Lotus pond, and every night
You can make blossom in me
Flowers of fire.
FAREWELL TO VICE-PREFECT DU
SETTING OUT FOR HIS OFFICIAL POST IN SHU
By this wall that surrounds the three Qin districts,
Through a mist that makes five rivers one,
We bid each other a sad farewell,
We two officials going opposite ways....
And yet, while China holds our friendship,
And heaven remains our neighbourhood,
Why should you linger at the fork of the road,
Wiping your eyes like a heart-broken child?
Success and failure? No known address.
This or that goes on, depending on the other.
And who can say if Milord Shao was happier
ruling a city, or sacked, his excellent melon patch?
Hot, cold, summer, winter: don't they alternate?
Mayn't a man's way wander on just so?
Yes, those who "get there" know their opportunities...
have learned to untie the knots of knowledge.
But was it the notable or the notorious that our Sage spoke of?
The latter he called opportunists. Those who get there, doubtless,
know doubt nor care no more. Yet, doubt you not, nor do dead generals,
who plotted carefully at what seemed opportune,
and knew naught, right or wrong.
If, of a sudden, you're offered fine wine,
let the sun sink. Enjoy it.
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.
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.
The moon shines in Fuzhou tonight,
In her chamber, she watches alone.
I pity my distant boy and girl-
They don't know why she thinks of Chang'an.
Her cloud-like hair is sweet with mist,
Her jade arms cold in the clear moonlight.
When shall we lean in the empty window,
Together in brightness, and tears dried up?
Watch things move when you are still.
Watch people busy toiling while you are relaxed.
Then you can realize the fun of being out of this world.
Knowing how to be at ease when busy.
Knowing how to quiet down amidst noise.
That is the discipline to keep you healthy and long-lived.
HILLS surround the ancient kingdom; they never change.
The tide beats against the empty city, and silently, silently, returns.
To the East, over the Huai River – the ancient moon.
Through the long, quiet night it moves, crossing the battlemented wall.
Last night in the light rain as rough winds blew,
My drunken sleep left me no merrier.
I question one that raised the curtain, who
Replies: "The wild quince trees -- are as they were."
But no, but no!
Their rose is waning, and their green leaves grow.
So tender, so tender, the grasses on the plain,
in one year, to wither, then flourish.
Wild fire cannot burn them away.
Spring breezes breath, they spring again.
Their distant fragrance on the ancient way,
Their sunlit emerald greens the ruined walls.
Seeing you off again, dear friend.
Sighing, sighing, full of partings pain.