Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Li Bai (705-762)

Li Bai
In Spring
Your grasses up north are as blue as jade,
Our mulberries here curve green-threaded branches;
And at last you think of returning home,
Now when my heart is almost broken....
O breeze of the spring, since I dare not know you,
Why part the silk curtains by my bed?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Li Qi (690-761)

Li QiAn Old Air
There once was a man, sent on military missions,
A wanderer, from youth, on the You and Yan frontiers.
Under the horses' hoofs he would meet his foes
And, recklessly risking his seven-foot body,
Would slay whoever dared confront
Those moustaches that bristled like porcupinequills.
...There were dark clouds below the hills, there were white clouds above them,
But before a man has served full time, how can he go back?
In eastern Liao a girl was waiting, a girl of fifteen years,
Deft with a guitar, expert in dance and song.
...She seems to be fluting, even now, a reed-song of home,
Filling every soldier's eyes with homesick tears.

Xue Tao (768-831)

Its spirit leans like a thin hook
or opens round like a Han-loom fan,
slender shadow whose nature is to be full,
seen everywhere in the human world.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wang An-shih (1021-1086)

Wandering Out with a Full Moon to
Eightfold-Integrity River
Thoughts turned far away from you,
confusion rife, I can’t sleep. Finally
I rise, gaze up into bright stars, then
saddle a horse and wander the road
east, thinking rivers and mountains
might ease my worries. I know you
ate no dinner. Come: we’ll ladle out
clouds together here at their source.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tao Te Ching (6th cent.bc)


The Way is full: use won’t empty it.
Deep is the matrix of the myriad creatures.
Blunt the sharp:
Loosen the knots:
Dim the glare:
Follow old tracks.
Shadowy, it seems hardly there.
I don’t know whose child it is.
It seems like the ancestral form.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Li Bai (705-762)

Li Bai
Down Zhongnan Mountain to the Kind Pillow and Bowl of Husi
Down the blue mountain in the evening,
Moonlight was my homeward escort.
Looking back, I saw my path
Lie in levels of deep shadow....
I was passing the farm-house of a friend,
When his children called from a gate of thorn
And led me twining through jade bamboos
Where green vines caught and held my clothes.
And I was glad of a chance to rest
And glad of a chance to drink with my friend....
We sang to the tune of the wind in the pines;
And we finished our songs as the stars went down,
When, I being drunk and my friend more than happy,
Between us we forgot the world.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Zhang Jiuling (678-740)

Zhang JiulingThoughts I
A lonely swan from the sea flies,
To alight on puddles it does not deign.
Nesting in the poplar of pearls
It spies and questions green birds twain:
"Don't you fear the threat of slings,
Perched on top of branches so high?
Nice clothes invite pointing fingers,
High climbers god's good will defy.
Bird-hunters will crave me in vain,
For I roam the limitless sky."

Friday, March 20, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

Du Fu
Alone in Her Beauty
Who is lovelier than she?
Yet she lives alone in an empty valley.
She tells me she came from a good family
Which is humbled now into the dust.
...When trouble arose in the Kuan district,
Her brothers and close kin were killed.
What use were their high offices,
Not even shielding their own lives? –
The world has but scorn for adversity;
Hope goes out, like the light of a candle.
Her husband, with a vagrant heart,
Seeks a new face like a new piece of jade;
And when morning-glories furl at night
And mandarin-ducks lie side by side,
All he can see is the smile of the new love,
While the old love weeps unheard.
The brook was pure in its mountain source,
But away from the mountain its waters darken.
...Waiting for her maid to come from selling pearls
For straw to cover the roof again,
She picks a few flowers, no longer for her hair,
And lets pine-needles fall through her fingers,
And, forgetting her thin silk sleeve and the cold,
She leans in the sunset by a tall bamboo.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Han Dong (b1961)

Now I'm back, back in Nanjing
Getting on with a middling kind of life
Between sun and ice, I inhabit
The cold shadows of my room
Occasionally visiting a nightclub
That warm cave
Where I am far from eternity or a moment of excitement
I'm like any commonplace and painful existence
That's all I am

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

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 :

Monday, March 16, 2015

Saisho (?-1506)

Earth, mountains, rivers - hidden in this nothingness.                               In this nothingness - earth, mountains, rivers revealed.                               Spring flowers, winter snows:                               There's no being or non-being, nor denial itself. 
                                                            -    Saisho  (? - 1506)
                                                                  Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter, p.32
                                                                  Translated by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

My Hovel

The world before my eyes is wan and wasted, just like me.
The earth is decrepit, the sky stormy, all the grass withered.
No spring breeze even at this late date,
Just winter clouds swallowing up my tiny reed hut.
Ikkyu Sojun :

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Li Po (701-762)

A Mountain Revelry

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.
Li Po :

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ou-Yang Hsu (1007-1072)

Returning in the Moonlight to Huang-hua
Joy’s in the sound of the spring up the cliff,
evening late the mountains quiet.
Pines, in a wash of moonlight,
as thousand peaks, a single hue.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Zu Yong (699-746)

Zu Yong
Looking Toward an Inner Gate of the Great Wall
My heart sank when I headed north from Yan Country
To the camps of China echoing ith bugle and drum.
...In an endless cold light of massive snow,
Tall flags on three borders rise up like a dawn.
War-torches invade the barbarian moonlight,
Mountain-clouds like chairmen bear the Great Wall from the sea.
...Though no youthful clerk meant to be a great general,
I throw aside my writing-brush –
Like the student who tossed off cap for a lariat,
I challenge what may come.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Chen Ziang (656-702)

Chen ZiangOn a Gate-tower at Yuzhou
Where, before me, are the ages that have gone?
And where, behind me, are the coming generations?
I think of heaven and earth, without limit, without end,
And I am all alone and my tears fall down.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Han Yu (768-824)

Snow in Spring

New year all not be luxuriant
2nd month first startle see grass shoot
White snow but suspect spring colour late
So penetrate pavilion tree make fly flower
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.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Feng-kan (750?-850?)

Actually there isn't a thing
by Feng-kan (Big Stick)

English version by Red Pine (Bill Porter)
Original Language Chinese

Actually there isn't a thing
much less any dust to wipe away
who can master this
doesn't need to sit there stiff

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Seng-Ts'an (d.606)

Do not remain in the dualistic state;
avoid such pursuits carefully.
If there is even a trace
of this and that, of right and wrong,
the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.
Although all dualities come from the One,
do not be attached even to this One.
When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
nothing in the world can offend,
and when a thing can no longer offend,
it ceases to exist in the old way.
When no discriminating thoughts arise,
the old mind ceases to exist.
When thought objects vanish,
the thinking-subject vanishes.
Things are objects because of the subject;
the mind is such because of things.
Understand the relativity of these two
and the basic reality: the unity of emptiness.
In this Emptiness the two are indistinguishable
and each contains in itself the whole world.
If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine
you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.