Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Li Bai (Li Po-701-762)

Ancient Air
Li Bai

I climb up high and look on the four seas,
Heaven and earth spreading out so far.
Frost blankets all the stuff of autumn,
The wind blows with the great desert's cold.
The eastward-flowing water is immense,
All the ten thousand things billow.
The white sun's passing brightness fades,
Floating clouds seem to have no end.
Swallows and sparrows nest in the wutong tree,
Yuan and luan birds perch among jujube thorns.
Now it's time to head on back again,
I flick my sword and sing Taking the Hard Road.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

Sighs of Autumn Rain (2)
Du Fu

Ceaseless wind and lengthy rain swirl together this autumn,
The four seas and eight deserts are covered by one cloud.
A horse going, an ox coming, cannot be distinguished,
How now can the muddy Jing and clear Wei be told apart?
The standing grain begins to sprout, the millet's ears turn black,
Farmers and the farmers' wives have no hopeful news.
In the city, a bucket of rice can cost a silken quilt,
And both the buyer and seller have to agree the bargain is fair.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tao Qian (132-194)

Returning to Live in the South Tao Qian

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.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Tao Chien (365-427)

Return Home

My boat lightly tosses on the broad waters,
The wind, whirling, blows my robe about.
I ask a traveler of the way ahead.
I am impatient with the dawn light's faintness.
Then I espy my humble house:
I am glad, so I run.
The children wait at the gate.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Confucius (551-479BC)



    • Deftly he sets his rabbit-nets;
    • Hear what blows, as he drives each stake!
    • Stalwart and strong,—’tis a warrior’s form:
    • Wall and shield for his Prince he’d make.
    • Deftly he sets his rabbit-nets,
    • Midway there where the most tracks be.
    • Stalwart and strong,—’tis a warrior’s form:
    • Right-hand man for his Prince were he.
    • Deftly he sets his rabbit-nets;
    • Right in the heart of the wildwood spread.
    • Stalwart and strong,—’tis a warrior’s form:
    • Such were a Prince’s heart and head!

Qu Yuan (340-278BC)

Had I not loved my prime and spurned the vile,
Why should I not have changed my former style?
My chariot drawn by steeds of race divine
I urged; to guide the king my sole design.

Cao Cao (155-220)

Though The Tortoise Lives Long

Though the tortoise blessed with magic powers lives long,
Its days have their allotted span;
Though winged serpents ride high on the mist,
They turn to dust and ashes at the last;
And a noble-hearted man though advanced in years
Never abandons his proud aspirations.
Man's span of life, whether long or short,
Depends not on Heaven alone;
One who eats well and keeps cheerful
Can live to a great old age.
And so, with joy in my heart,
I hum this song.
Cao Cao :

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

Jueju Free Mood, No. 7 of 9 (The Path is Paved With Poplar Catkins)
Du Fu

The path is paved with poplar catkins, a carpet of white grain,
Lotus leaves on the little stream are piled like green coins.
Among the roots of new bamboo, sprouts that no man has seen,
On the sand nearby, a duckling sleeps beside its mother.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Liu Zongyuan (773-819)

River Snow
Liu Zongyuan

A thousand hills, but no birds in flight,
Ten thousand paths, with no person's tracks.
A lonely boat, a straw-hatted old man,
Fishing alone in the cold river snow.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Bai Juyi (772-846)

Remembering South of the River
Bai Juyi

South of the river is good,
Long ago, I knew the landscape well.
At sunrise, the river's flowers are red like fire,
In spring, the river's water's green as lilies.
How could I not remember south of the river?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

A Guest Arrives
Du Fu

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.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Xue Tao (768-831)

Willow Catkins

In February, light, fine willow catkins
play with people's clothes in spring breeze;
they are heartless creatures,
flying south one moment, then north again.
Xue Tao :

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

Moonlit Night

Tonight at Fu-chou, this moon she watches
Alone in our room. And my little, far-off
Children, too young to understand what keeps me
Away, or even remember Chang'an. By now,

Her hair will be mist-scented, her jade-white
Arms chilled in its clear light. When
Will it find us together again, drapes drawn
Open, light traced where it dries our tears?
Du Fu :

Friday, December 18, 2015

Yuan Zhen (779-831)

An Elegy 2

We joked, long ago, about one of us dying,
But suddenly, before my eyes, you are gone.
Almost all your clothes have been given away;
Your needlework is sealed, I dare not look at it....
I continue your bounty to our men and our maids
Sometimes, in a dream, I bring you gifts.
...This is a sorrow that all mankind must know
But not as those know it who have been poor together.
Yuan Zhen :

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Liu Yuxi (772-842)

Returning Home

During my youth I left home and returned there in my old age,
My accent is unchanged but my hair had turned white.
The children saw me but they do not recognize me,
With smiles they asked me where I came from.
Liu Yuxi :

Lu You (1125-1210)

Caught In Drizzle At Sword Gate Pass
         Lu You 1125-1210

Traveling clothes, dust caked, wine stained, 
Journeying far, overwhelmed by grief.
In this life what am I?
        only a poet
                straddling a donkey
Entering Sword Gate in a drizzling rain.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Li Bai (701-762)

1. Thoughts in the Silent Night — Li Bai


Thoughts in the Silent Night
By Li Bai
Translated by Yang Xianyi & Dai Naidie

Beside my bed a pool of light—
Is it hoarfrost on the ground?
I lift my eyes and see the moon,
I bend my head and think of home.

Thoughts in the Silent Night is one of the most well-known Chinese poems written by Li Bai. This short poem uses only a few words and is quite concise in wordage, but it is endowed with the passion that stimulates the bottom of one’s heart and arouses an intense feeling of nostalgia very naturally.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tao Chien (365-427)

Drinking Alone In Continuous Rain

Destiny and life both have an ending;
From of old it has been so.
In this world there was a stately pine,
And where is it now?
An old friend gave me wine;
He said it would make me feel spritely.
I tried to drink it, and all my emotions soared.
I drank again to my heart's content,
Forgetting suddenly that there is a heaven.
Is heaven not also here?
Relying on my inner self, I stand before the universe.
Only the cloud crane has strange wings,
Returning in a wink of time.
I, alone, embracing this self,
Have muddled through for more than forty years.
The body has undergone much change,
But the heart lives on. What more can I say?
Tao Chien :

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mei Yaochen (1002-1060)

Mourning Loss
Mei Yaochen

When we two first became husband and wife
Was seventeen years ago today.
We couldn't look at each other enough,
What loss could compare to this?
Already, my temples are mostly white,
I'd rather my body had finished its time.
In the end, we'll share a tomb;
Still not dead, I weep and weep.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Luo Bin Wang (640-684)

In Prison the Cicadas Still Sing

Along the road running west
The cicadas sing
And from the south too
So loudly it sounds like
A visitor approaching

How long the song lasts
From their fragile black wings
Yet my white shaggy head
Detects a note of gloom

As autumn’s heavy mists
Make flight unthinkable
And the wind grows stronger
Their song will be submerged

So too by my fellow man
I have been left here forgotten
No one shows the least regard
For the songs that yet
Would fill my heart


Not long after he wrote the poem, Luo was executed, although the Empress Wu, having been previously impressed by his poetic talents, did arrange for a posthumous publication of a collection of his work. Even so, this great poem provides me with a strange consolation, in the realization that there are indeed much worse fates than the obscurity in which we American poets usually toil.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

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.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Han Shan (fl.9th cent)

Poem 106

The layered bloom of hills and streams
Kingfisher shades beneath rose-colored clouds
mountain mists soak my cotton bandanna,
dew penetrates my palm-bark coat.
On my feet are traveling shoes,
my hand holds an old vine staff.
Again I gaze beyond the dusty world-
what more could I want in that land of dreams

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Loy Ching-Yuen (1873-1960)


We can hold back
neither the coming of the flowers
nor the downward rush of the stream;
sooner or later,
everything comes to its fruition.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Xiao Kang (?)

Funeral Of Century(1)

XiaoKang Ma
Section 1

Sadness falls as a meteor
Dry the last drop of tear
Desperation, the iron chains
To tie everyone's throat deadly
Brief tortures brief
There is no place for salvation
On the land abandoned by God
In the East, in the East -
Before A hundred years ago
The wind blows the horn
The crow encourages us to commit suicide
Tortoise tries to wake the land up
He is too slow, too slow-
To find the ear of land
Flood water is coming!
Coming from east of the east
Judgment-Day, isn’t it?
To foretell the future
To wait for angry of God
To trouble in huge seas
Now, everyone on this land
Pick up the shovel
Get ready to bury, bury this century
Digging out the truth and false
Never stop! Until we bury ourselves
when the blood is flying in the night
Twinkled is nothing but eye of Satan
Drizzle, Drizzle-
Moisten the thirsty throat selflessly
And expand them inside the chains
Flower breaks off blooming
Grass are ready to be trampled
The sea carries floor water-
In silent tribute with anger and killing
Fly in the sky
Float down the wave
Fell into the ground
A red night, A red night

Xiao Kang :

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Li He (790-816)

Li Ping At The Vertical Harp

Silk from Wu, paulownia from Shu,
Strummed in high autumn,
In the white sky the frozen clouds
Falling, not floating.
Ladies of the River weeping among bamboos,
The White Girl mournful
As Li Ping plays his harp
In the centre of the Kingdom.

Jade from Mount Kun is shattered,
Phoenixes shriek,
Lotuses are weeping dew,
Fragrant orchids smile.

Before the twelve gates of the city
The cold light melts,
The twenty-three strings can move
The Purple Emperor

Where Nü Gua smelted stones
To weld the sky,
Stones split asunder, sky startles,
Autumn rains gush forth.
He goes in dreams to the Spirit Mountain
To teach the Weird Crone,
Old fishes leap above the waves,
Gaunt dragons dance.

Wu Ch'i, unsleeping still,
Leans on his cassia tree,
As wing-foot dew aslant
Drenches the shivering hare.
Li He :

Monday, November 30, 2015

Jia Dao (779-843)

Written On The Dwelling Of A Recluse

Even though you have a brushwood door,
it hasn't been shut for a long time;
A few clouds, a few trees
have been your only companions.
Still, I suspect if you stay longer,
people will learn of this spot;
We'll see you moving
higher on the mountain.
Brushed on a Hermit's Hut
Although you brushwood door is hardly ever shut,
And a slice of clouds one solitary tree
help you idle away your time.
Yet I suspect if you stay here longer people will find you,
Then you'll move even deeper in the mountains!
Jia Dao :

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Tao Qian (365-427)

"Returning to the Farm to Dwell" 
 From early days I have been at odds with world;
My instinctive love is hills and mountains.
By mischance I fell into the dusty net
And was thirteen years away from home.
The migrant bird longs for its native grove.
The fish in the pond recalls the former depths.
Now I have cleared some land to the south of town,
Simplicity intact, I have returned to farm.
The land I own amounts to a couple of acres
The thatched-roof house has four or five rooms.
Elms and willows shade the eaves in back,
Peach and plum stretch out before the hall.
Distant villages are lost in haze,
Above the houses smoke hangs in the air.
A dog is barking somewhere in the hidden lane,
A cock crow from the top of a mulberry tree.
My home remains unsoiled by worldly dust
Within bare rooms I have my peach of mind.
For long I was a prisoner in a cage
And now I have my freedom back again.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Wang Bo (650-676)

Wang Bo (650-676): In the Mountains

languid, long as the river, steeped in sorrow am I,
A myriad miles from home----to return, but when? I sigh.
And now as darkness nears, high are the autumn winds that   
On each and every mountain, how the yellow leaves fly!
Translated by Andrew W.F. Wong (Huang Hongfa)     譯者: 黃宏發

Friday, November 27, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

Spring View

Even though a state is crushed
Its hills and streams remain;
Now inside the walls of Chang’an
Grasses rise high among un-pruned trees;
Seeing flowers come, a flood
Of sadness overwhelms me; cut off
As I am, songs of birds stir
My heart; third month and still
Beacon fires flare as they did
Last year; to get news
From home would be worth a full
Thousand pieces of gold;
Trying to knot up my hair
I find it grey, too thin
For my pin to hold it together.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Mei Yaochen (1002-1060)

Writing of My Sorrow

Heaven’s already taken my wife,
Now it’s also taken my son.
My two eyes are still not dry,
My heart desires only death.
Rain falls and soaks into the earth,
A pearl sinks into the ocean’s depths.
Dive in the sea and you can seek the pearl,
Dig in the earth and you can see the water.
Only people return to the source below.
For all of time. This we know.
I hold my chest; to whom now can I turn?
Emaciated, a ghost in the mirror.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tao Qian (132-194)

Returning to Live in the South 3

(translated by William P. Coleman)

I sow my beans below the southern hills,
but grass flourishes, while bean seedlings are scarce.
Mornings I rise to clear tangled waste space,
then, under the moon, carry my hoe coming home.
The path is narrow, through tall grass under trees;
its evening dew dampens my clothes.
But wet clothes don’t worry me —
not enough to separate me from my dream.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Chuang Tzu (370-270BC)

There was Lieh-tsze, who rode on the wind and pursued his way, with an admirable indifference (to all external things), returning, however, after fifteen days, (to his place). In regard to the things that (are supposed to) contribute to happiness, he was free from all endeavours to obtain them; but though he had not to walk, there was still something for which he had to wait. But suppose one who mounts on (the ether of) heaven and earth in its normal operation, and drives along the six elemental energies of the changing (seasons), thus enjoying himself in the illimitable,- what has he to wait for? Therefore it is said, "The Perfect man has no (thought of) self; the Spirit-like man, none of merit; the Sagely-minded man, none of fame."

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Su Tung-po (1037-1101)

Shui Lung Yin

Like a flower, but not a flower
No one cares when it falls
And lies discarded at the roadside
But though
Unmoved, I think about
The tangle of wounded tendrils
Lovely eyes full of sleep
About to open,yet
Still in dreams, following the wind ten thousand miles
In search of love
Startled, time and again, by the oriole's cry

Do not pity the flower that flies off
Grieve for the western garden
Its fallen red already beyond mending --
Now, after morning rain
What's left?
A pond full of broken duckweed
If the three parts of spring
Two turn to dust
One to flowing water
Look --
These are not catkins
But drop after drop of parted lover's tears
Su Tung-po :

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Niu Hsi-Chi (?)



MIST is trying to hide the Spring-coloured hills,
The sky is pale, the stars are scattered and few.
The moon is broken and fading, yet there is light on your face,
These are the tears of separation, for now it is bright dawn.
We have said many words,
But our passion is not assuaged.
Turn your head, I have still something to say:
Remember my skirt of green open-work silk,
The sweet-scented grasses everywhere will prevent your forgetting.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Hsieh Ling-yun (385-433)

Climbing Green-Cliff Mountain in Yung-chia
Taking a little food, a light walking-stick,
I wander up to my home in quiet mystery,
the path along streams winding far away
onto ridgetops, no end to this wonder at
slow waters silent in their frozen beauty
and bamboo glistening at heart with frost,
cascades scattering a confusion of spray
and broad forests crowding distant cliffs.
Thinking it's moonrise I see in the west
and sunset I'm watching blaze in the east,
I hike on until dark, then linger out night
sheltered away in deep expanses of shadow.
Immune to high importance: that's renown.
Walk humbly and it's all promise in beauty,
for in quiet mystery the way runs smooth,
ascending remote heights beyond compare.
Utter tranquillity, the distinction between
yes this and no that lost, I embrace primal
unity, thought and silence woven together,
that deep healing where we venture forth.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Liu Zongyuan (773-819)

Liuzhou Banyan Trees Disrobed
        Liu Zongyuan 773-819

My career stymied
Mid spring feels like chill fall
        so much is lost.
In this mountain city after squall
        a hundred flowers battered,
Banyan leaves scattered in the yard
        an oriole's chaotic keen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Han Yu (768-824)

Mountain Rocks

Ragged mountain rocks efface the path .
Twilight comes to the temple and bats hover .
Outside the hall I sit on steps and gaze at torrential new rain .
Banana leaves are wide, the cape jasmine is fat .
A monk tells me the ancient Buddhist frescos are good
and holds a torch to show me, but I can barely see .
I lie quiet in night so deep even insects are silent.
From behind a rise the clear moon enters my door .
In the dawn I am alone and lose myself,
wandering up and down in mountain mist.
Then colors dazzle me : mountain red, green stream ,
and a pine so big, ten people linking hands can’t encircle it.
Bare feet on slick rock as I wade upstream.
Water sounds shhhh, shhhh. Wind inflates my shirt.
A life like this is the best.
Why put your teeth on the bit and let people rein you in?
O friends, my party of gentlemen ,
how can we grow old without returning here ?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Meng Chiao (751-814)

Wanderer’s Song
The thread in the hand of a kind mother
Is the coat on the wanderer’s back.
Before he left she stitched it close
In secret fear that he would be slow to return.
Who will say that the inch of grass in his heart
Is gratitude enough for all the sunshine of spring?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Liu Yu-Hsi (772-842)



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.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Wei Ying-wu (737-792)

On Leave and Watching the Rain: To My Colleagues in the County Government
With feet like Ch’ueh K’o’s I get nothing but laughs
unemployed now I dream of Tuling
The last oriole knows little of summer
but a festival rain foretells a good harvest
my grain isn’t gone because I wasn’t looking
compiling records was something I couldn’t do
of course I worry about quitting my post
I’d better stop here and thank my friends

Friday, November 13, 2015

Wang An-shih (1021-1086)

Written on a Wall at
Samadhi-Forest Monastery
Samadhi-Forest has a host, the abbot,
and I’m the guest. Host and guest, we
each have our own mind, but they’re
both quiet as the same mountain peak.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Zhang Jiuling (678-740)

Zhang Jiuling
Thoughts III
The hermit in his lone abode
Nurses his thoughts cleansed of care,
Them he projects to the wild goose
For it to his distant Sovereign to bear.
Who will be moved by the sincerity
Of my vain day-and-night prayer?
What comfort is for my loyalty
When fliers and sinkers can compare?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Han Shan (fl.9th cent.)

Untitled (9)
(Cold Mountain: 7th-9th c.)
People ask for the Cold Mountain Way.
Cold Mountain Road gives out where
confusions of ice outlast summer heat
and sun can't thin mists of blindness.
So how did someone like me get here?
My mind's just not the same as yours:
if that mind of yours were like mine,
you'd be right here in the midst of it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tao Yuanming (365-427)

Unsettled, a bird lost from the flock

Unsettled, a bird lost from the flock
Keeps flying by itself in the dusk.
Back and forth, it has no resting place,
Night after night, more anguished its cries.
Its shrill sound yearns for the pure and distant
Coming from afar, how anxiously it flutters!
It chances to find a pine tree growing all apart;
Folding its wings, it has come home at last.
In the gusty wind there is no dense growth;
This canopy alone does not decay.
Having found a perch to roost on,
In a thousand years it will not depart.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Li Shangyin (813-858)

Li Shangyin
Wind and Rain
I ponder on the poem of The Precious Dagger.
My road has wound through many years.
...Now yellow leaves are shaken with a gale;
Yet piping and fiddling keep the Blue Houses merry.
On the surface, I seem to be glad of new people;
But doomed to leave old friends behind me,
I cry out from my heart for Xinfeng wine
To melt away my thousand woes.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Li Bai (Li Po-699-762)

Lines For A Taoist Adept

My friend lives high on East Mountain.
His nature is to love the hills and gorges.
In green spring he sleeps in empty woodland,
Still there when the noon sun brightens.
Pine-tree winds to dust his hair.
Rock-filled streams to cleanse his senses.
Free of all sound and stress,
Resting on a wedge of cloud and mist.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Cai Wen (162-239)

Cai Yen (162 – 239 CE)
The daughter of writer Cai Yi, himself a friend of the legendary Cao Cao, Cai Yen is considered the first great Chinese woman poet. Far from leading a scholastic life, she was captured by a Hun chieftain, to whom she bore two sons, before Cao Cao ransomed her and married her to one of his officers.

From 18 Verses Sung to a Tatar Reed Whistle

I was born in a time of peace,
But later the mandate of Heaven
Was withdrawn from the Han Dynasty.
Heaven was pitiless.
It sent down confusion and separation.
Earth was pitiless.
It brought me to birth in such a time.
War was everywhere. Every road was dangerous.
Soldiers and civilians everywhere
Fleeing death and suffering.
Smoke and dust clouds obscured the land
Overrun by the ruthless Tatar bands.
Our people lost their will power and integrity.
I can never learn the ways of the barbarians.
I am daily subject to violence and insult.
I sing one stanza to my lute and a Tatar horn.
But no one knows my agony and grief.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Li Yi (747-829)

李益 Li Yi: 江南曲 Jiang Nan Qu (Song of the Land South of the River)

  I’m married to a merchant, we live in Qutang Gorge, yet
  Time after time he fails me: to return by the day he’d said.        
 O had I known this River, as ever, floods on time,  
  I might have had married a river-boat sailor instead.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Han Yu (768-824)

Thoughts In The Cold

You are gone. The river is high at my door.
Cicadas are mute on dew-laden boughs.
This is a moment when thoughts enter deep.
I stand alone for a long while.
...The North Star is nearer to me now than spring,
And couriers from your southland never arrive
Yet I doubt my dream on the far horizon
That you have found another friend.
Han Yu :