Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Friday, July 31, 2015

Li Yu (937-978)

A Heavenly Woman's Imprisoned in the Palace (Buddhist Dancers)
Li Yu

A heavenly woman's imprisoned in the palace at Penglai Hill,
All are silent as she sleeps by day in the painted hall.
Her glossy hair is spread like cloud on the pillow,
Her embroidered clothes bear a wondrous fragrance.
I secretly come and slide the pearl lock back,
She's startled from her dream behind the silver screen.
Her smiling face is overflowing with bliss,
We gaze at each other with unbounded love.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wen Tingjun (812-870)

Travelling Early to Shangshan
Wen Tingjun

In the morning, he starts to move at the journey bell,
He travels, thinking sorrowfully of his home.
A cock crows; a thatched cottage; the moon;
On the planks of the bridge, his footsteps mark the frost.
Mongolian oak leaves fall on the mountain road,
Citron blossom's bright by the post house wall.
Still his thoughts are of his dream of Duling,
The pond full of geese and wild ducks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072)

After the Fresh Blossoms Have Gone (Picking Mulberries)
Ouyang Xiu

After the fresh blossoms have gone- West Lake is good.
Tattered scraps of remnant red,
Mist of cotton catkins flying,
Weeping willow by the railing in the wind and sun.

Pipes and song scatter and cease, visitors depart.
I start to feel that spring is empty,
Let the curtain fall back down,
A pair of swallows going home through the drizzly rain.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cao Cao (155-220)

Walking from Xiamen and Looking at the Blue Sea
Cao Cao

East of Jieshi mountain, I gaze at the blue sea.
The water dances so gently, the mountain island towers.
Trees here grow thick, a hundred grasses are lush.
The autumn wind soughs, great waves rise up.
The path of the sun and moon, seems to come from within.
The splendid Milky Way, seems to come from inside.
Oh, I am so lucky, to be singing my song!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Gao Qi (1336-1374)

Looking for Hermit Hu
Gao Qi

I pass over water, and pass over water again,
I look at the flowers, and look at the flowers again.
Travelling the river, there's a spring breeze,
Before I am aware, I reach your home.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Xu Zhimo (1896-1931)


I am a cloud in the sky,
A chance shadow on the wave of your heart.
Don't be surprised,
Or too elated;
In an instant I shall vanish without trace.

We meet on the sea of dark night,
You on your way, I on mine.
Remember if you will,
Or, better still, forget
The light exchanged in this encounter.

Xu Zhimo :

Bai Juyi (772-846)

Peach Blossom at Dalin Temple
Bai Juyi

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.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Fang Gan (?)

You Do Not Come
Fang Gan

The road is long, and east or west, I have no-one to ask,
The cold has come, but I've not place to send your cold weather clothes.
When you left, we'd just planted the tree before the hall,
The tree already bears a nest, the person's not returned.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Li Yu (937-978)

Light Mist Envelopes the Dim Moon (Buddhist Dancers)
Li Yu

Light mist envelopes the dim moon and bright flowers,
A perfect night to go to her darling's side.
In stocking soles, she treads the fragrant steps,
And carries in one hand her gold threaded shoes.
They meet by the south side of the painted hall,
And trembling fall into each other's arms.
"It's hard for me to creep out like a servant,
To teach my darling the recklessness of love."

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Liu Yong (987-1053)

Partridge Omen

瑞 鷓 鴣
寶 髻 瑤 簪
嚴 妝 巧
天 然 綠 媚 紅 深
綺 羅 叢 里
獨 呈 謳 吟
一 曲 陽 春 定 價
何 啻 值 千 金
傾 聽 外
王 孫 帝 子
鶴 蓋 成 陰
凝 態 掩 霞 襟
動 象 板聲 聲
怨 思 難 任
嘹 亮 外
迴 壓 弦 管 低 沉
時 憑 迴 眸 斂 黛
空 役 五 陵 心
須 信 道
緣 情 寄 意
別 有 知 音

Jewelled hair-coil
green jasper pin
she’s skilfully presented
in natural green
radiant red
amply lined with ruffled silk
she sings just one song:
a song worth more than gold
beloved of emperors and nobles
focused on the melody
she hides her blushes
swaying to the sound of castanets
but can’t quite manage
to conceal her distress
her singing rises loud and clear
answering the moan of strings and pipes
at times her dark eyes
seem to return the gaze
of one or other in the audience
enslaving hearts
but each must understand
the longings that her song reveals
are there for someone else.
Liu Yong presents an active situation with a narrative. His subject is the contrast between the seductiveness of the singing girl’s performance and her private thoughts. The all-male audience may be aroused into pangs of desire, but her role-playing is the truth of the poem. Has her “true” lover  deserted her?     
“O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?”  (Yeats)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Li Po (701-762)

Jade Steps Grievance
Upon the jade steps white dews grow.
It is late. Gauze stockings are dabbled.
She lets down her the crystal blind
To watch, glass-clear, the autumn moon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Liu Zongyuan (773-819)

A thousand mountains. Flying birds vanish.
Ten thousand paths. Human traces erased.
One boat, bamboo hat, bark cape-an old man.
Alone with his hook. Cold river. Snow.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Xin Qiji (1140-1207)

To The Tune;A Sprig Of Blossom

I wrote this for fun when drunk.

a thousand hands held hi gh to heaven
swept along wi th a torrent of shouts
a gold seal hang ing from my belt
b ig as a ladle

our ri ders came in swarms w ith bows and swords
I commanded them to qui ckly cover front and rear
we tir ed all ki nds of subterfuge
li ke chi ldren fi ghti ng i n the grass
determ ined to prevai l

futi li ty!
forget the furrow in my brow
wi th ha r turned whi te
It's useless to look back

I dle now
I pass the ti me of day
w ith mountai n fri ends

see those sheep and cattle on the hi llsi de,
who could sort the smart from stup id?

I've taken to tend ing plants and w illows
dread ing vi si tors
tell them I'm drunk th is morn ing
Xin Qiji :

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Li Qingzhao (1084-1151)

To the Tune of Yu Jia Ao:
The lofty fisherman

by Li Qingzhao
When the sky, mist, and waved clouds mingle at dawn,
when a star-laden river, the Milky Way, wheels
in the dance of a thousand sails,
then my spirit, in a dream, drifts to the empyrean,
listening to heaven’s voice
gently asking me about a journey:
What is your desire?
I answer with a sigh:  The road is long at dusk;
I’ve studied poetry intently,
even written a few startling lines.
Yet the powerful peng bird
soars high for ninety thousand li
on pure wind, unceasing wind,
as I desire to send my little boat
three mythic mountains away.
translated from Chinese by Karen An-hwei Lee

Du Fu (712-770)

杜 甫

Lodging for the night

Stopping at a riverside town
I stay the night in an army camp
Alone in my room,
I watch the candle burns low
The clear autumn air chills the courtyard
The notes of a bugle ache my heart.
Mid-sky the moon is brilliant
but who is there to see?

The mountain pass is closed
The road ahead is difficult
And all news are lost in the dust and wind
Ten years have passed
As I search for a branch to rest and shelter.

Chang Chi (714-779)

The moon sets, crows cry in the frosty air.Under maple trees by the river, a fisherman’s light disturbs my sleep.Outside Suzhou city, from Hanshan TempleThe midnight bell comes to my boat.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Xue Tao (768-831)

On Cicadas

their pure notes
carry far.

as dry, fasting leaves
are blown.

Chirr after chirr,
as if in unison.

But each perches
on its one branch,
Xue Tao :

Friday, July 17, 2015

Yuan Zhen (779-831)

An Elegy 1

O youngest, best-loved daughter of Xie,
Who unluckily married this penniless scholar,
You patched my clothes from your own wicker basket,
And I coaxed off your hairpins of gold, to buy wine with;
For dinner we had to pick wild herbs
And to use dry locust-leaves for our kindling.
...Today they are paying me a hundred thousand
And all that I can bring to you is a temple sacrifice.
Yuan Zhen :

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Liu Yuxi (772-842)

Black Shirt Lane

By the bridge over Qin-wei River,
Wild flowers and grass had grown over.
In Black Shirt Lane, nothing much differed,
And at the entrance it was the same sunset ever.
Into the halls of dignities , the swallows once flown,
But now they are finding their way in ordinary homes.
Liu Yuxi :

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Li Shen (d. 846)

Toiling Farmers —by Li Shen
李绅 《悯农》

Toiling Farmers
By Li Shen
Farmers weeding at noon,
Sweat down the field soon.
Who knows food on a tray
Thanks to their toiling day?

This poem was written by the Tang Dynasty poet Li Shen who is known for expressing in-depth coverage of the rural life in his poems. The poem talks about farmers’ hard work for every single grain. The first two lines describe farmers keep toiling away despite the blazing heat at noon. The following two lines connect food in plate with farmers’ hard work. If they don’t toil, then who knows what you would eat.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Wang Bo (649-676)

Farewell To Vice-Prefect Du Setting Out For His Official Post In Shu — by Wang Bo
Farewell To Vice-Prefect Du Setting Out For His Official Post In Shu
By Wang Bo

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?

This poem was written by Wang Bo in Chang’an City when his friend surnamed Du was leaving to take office as a county official in Sichuan province, the poet saw him off in Chang’an City and presented his friend this farewell poem. The poem describes their profound friendship and also expresses his sincerity and encouragement to his friend.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Li Qingzha (1084-1151)

A Quatrain in Summer — by Li Qingzha
李清照 《夏日绝句》
A Quatrain in Summer
By Li Qingzhao

To be, one should be a rare fellow.
Not to be, one should be a ghost hero.
We have revered Xiangyu till today,
For he rejected alive as a loser way.

This poem was written by Li Qingzhao, a famous poetess who lived in the Southern Song dynasty (1127- 1279). The poem proposes her own viewpoint clearly in the first two lines: One as a human being should be an outstanding talent and make contributions to the country; if one has to die, he should make sacrifices for his country, becoming a ghost hero after death. The poetess felt very disappointed when the rulers of Southern Song just fled as the country was invaded aliens, disregard for common people. The poetess also used Xiangyu, a hero who refused to flee and committed suicide with dignity, to satirize the rulers, and at the same time she hoped heroic figures could recover the country’s lost territory.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Shijing (anthology)

Guan! Guan! Cry The Fish Hawks — from Shijing

Guan! Guan! Cry the fish hawks
on sandbars in the river:
a mild-mannered good girl,
fine match for the gentleman.

A ragged fringe is the floating-heart,
left and right we trail it:
that mild-mannered good girl,
awake, asleep, I search for her.

I search but cannot find her,
awake, asleep, thinking of her,
endlessly, endlessly,
turning, tossing from side to side.

A ragged fringe is the floating-heart,
left and right we pick it:
the mild-mannered good girl,
harp and lute make friends with her.

A ragged fringe is the floating-heart,
left and right we sort it:
the mild-mannered good girl,
bell and drum delight her.

This poem is the first poem of ancient anthology Shijing, the earliest collection of Chinese poems comprising 305 works of the Zhou Dynasty (1122-256 B.C.). It is a love poem describing that a young noble falls in love with a good and fair maiden collecting edible water plants, and hopes to marry her.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Wang Wei (699-761)

On The Mountain Holiday Thinking of My Brothers In Shandong
By Wang Wei
All alone in a foreign land,
I am twice as homesick on this day
When brothers carry dogwood up the mountain,
Each of them a branch-and my branch missing.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wang Zhihuan (688-742)

王之涣 《登鹳雀楼》
On The Stork Tower
By Wang Zhihuan
The sun beyond the mountains glows;
The Yellow River seawards flows.
You can enjoy a grander sight,
By climbing to a greater height.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cao Zhi (192-232)

曹植Quatrain of Seven Steps — By Cao Zhi
曹植 《七步诗》
Quatrain of Seven Steps
By Cao Zhi
People burn the beanstalk to boil beans,
The beans in the pot cry out.
We are born of the selfsame root,
Why should you torment me so much? 《七步诗》

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bai Juyi (772-846)

Grasses — Bai Juyi
白居易 《赋得古原草送别》
By Bai Juyi
Boundless grasses over the plain
Come and go with every season;
Wildfire never quite consumes them —
They are tall once more in the spring wind.
Sweet they press on the old high- road
And reach the crumbling city-gate….
O Prince of Friends, you are gone again….
I hear them sighing after you.

Tuesday, July 7, 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 :

Monday, July 6, 2015

Loy Ching-Yuen (1873-1960)

To know Tao

To know Tao
and still the mind.
Knowledge comes with perseverance.
The Way is neither full nor empty;
a modest and quiet nature understands this.
The empty vessel, the uncarved block;
nothing is more mysterious.
When enlightenment arrives
don’t talk too much about it;
just live it in your own way.
With humility and depth, rewards come naturally.
The fragrance of blossoms soon passes;
the ripeness of fruit is gone in a twinkling.
Our time in this world is so short,
better to avoid regret:
Miss no opportunity to savor the ineffable.
Like a golden beacon signaling on a moonless night,
Tao guides our passage through this transitory realm.
In moments of darkness and pain
remember all is cyclical.
Sit quietly behind your wooden door:
Spring will come again.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Meng Jiao (751-814)

Song Of A Traveling Son

Thread in the hands of a loving mother
Turns to clothes on the traveling son.
She adds stitch after tight stitch until he leaves
and worries about his return.
A grass blade is bathed in spring sun;
how can its inch-sized heart return such love?
Meng Jiao :

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Tao Te Ching (6th cent.BC) Lao Tzu

Chapter 4
The Tao is empty
When utilized, it is not filled up
So deep! It seems to be the source of all things
It blunts the sharpness
Unravels the knots
Dims the glare
Mixes the dusts
So indistinct! It seems to exist
I do not know whose offspring it is
Its image is the predecessor of the Emperor

Friday, July 3, 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



Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jia Dao (779-843)

Green Dragon Temple's Mirror Room

In the past, one evening I stayed here,
In the Mirror Room on Complete South Mountain.
Lonely candle, an abandoned perch on a ridge,
Chime of stone bells blizzard scattered.
Old trees crack in the cold,
Deep spring water frozen stiff.
Careless and lazy, so much left undone,
I've lost my path to the Way.
Jia Dao :

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wang Wei (701-761)

Deer Enclosure
Wang Wei

Hills are empty, no man is seen,
Yet the sound of people's voices is heard.
Light is cast into the deep forest,
And shines again on green moss.