Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

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Was withdrawn from the Han Dynasty.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 :

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ruan Ji (210-263)

Yonɡhuɑi #79

There is a rare bird in the forest,
Who calls himself a phoenix.
In the clear morning he drinks from a sweet spring,
At the eve of day he nests on the mountain's crest.
When he sings his high song
        his voice reaches to the ends of the empire;
And when he stretches his neck
        he can look off to the ends of the earth.
But when he meets the autumn wind rising,
His very wings (seem to show) his inner sorrow.
Once he has gone off west of the Kunlun,
When will he come soaring back again?
But alas! 
        That he must stay where he does not belong!
The utter sadness of it wrings my heart!

Du Fu (712-770)

Shortly after wind settled down but clouds remained black,
The autumn sky was misty and became dark.
The cotton quilts used for many years were iron-cold,
The lining was torn by my spoiled son’s way of sleeping.
The leaking rain soaked one end of the bed,
The rain was dense and unbroken.
I don’t sleep much since the disorder,
How could I spend the long night in wet?
What if there were ten thousand spacious rooms,
To shelter all those who were cold and be happy together,
We would be as steady as a mountain in storm!
I could suddenly see these rooms before me?
I would be satisfied even if I died of cold and my own room damaged!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Wang Wei (699-761)

Random Poem
Wang Wei

You also come from my home town,
You must know all the home town news.
At dawn, before the silken window,
Is it too cold for plum blossom to show?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Bai Juyi (772-846)

Song of Sunset on the River
Bai Juyi

A strip of water's spread in the setting sun,
Half the river's emerald, half is red.
I love the third night of the ninth month,
The dew is like pearl; the moon like a bow.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cao Cao (155-220)

《龜雖壽》Though the Tortoise Lives Long
神龜雖壽,猶有竟時。Though the tortoise blessed with magic powers lives long,
Its days have their allotted span;
騰蛇乘霧,終為土灰。Though winged serpents ride high on the mist,
They turn to dust and ashes at the last;
老驥伏櫪,志在千里;An old war-horse may be stabled,
Yet still it longs to gallop a thousand li;
烈士暮年,壯心不已。And a noble-hearted man though advanced in years
Never abandons his proud aspirations.
盈縮之期,不但在天;Man's span of life, whether long or short,
Depends not on Heaven alone;
養怡之福,可得永年。One who eats well and keeps cheerful
Can live to a great old age.
幸甚至哉!歌以咏志。And so, with joy in my heart,
I hum this song.

Du Fu (712-770)

By the Waters of Wei

Grieving silently and ageing,
Going secretly by Spring waters,
By closed palaces along the river.      
New reeds, fresh willows, green for no one.
Rainbow Banners passed hibiscus flowers,
Once, between South Gardens shining faces,
First Lady of the Han, Flying Swallow,
Sitting by her Lord in his carriage.
Maids of Honour with their bows and arrows
Mounted on white horses with gold bridles,
Glanced and shot their careless shafts together,
Killing with a single gleam of laughter.
Bright eyes. Clear smile. Where is She now?
Spirits of the blood-defiled are homeless.
Beyond the Wei’s east-running waters
One entered silence, One was left behind.
Pity’s tears remember vanished hours
By waters and by flowers still the same.
Now curfew, and the dust of Tartar horsemen.
I’ll head north to reach the south again.

Note: The ill-fated Yang Kuei-fei, whom Hsüan Tsung grieved for so deeply is, by analogy, Flying Swallow consort of the Han Emperor Ch’êng. Tu is probably slipping away to join Su-tsung the Emperor in the North hoping that way to return one day to Ch’ang-an’s light-filled South Gardens.

Wang An-shih (1021-1086)

I understood Radiance-Hut Monastery today.
Ox-Head Mountain stands resolute at the gate,
but graves are tangled mulberry and bamboo,
terrace and temple a ruins of jade and gold.
A newborn calf sleeps in windblown silence.
Evening crows take flight one by one. Each
sight opens thousand-year dreams, no words
enough even for tonight’s blossoms and rain.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Zi Ye (4th.cent.BC)

All night I could not sleep
because of the moonlight on my bed.
I kept on hearing a voice calling:
Out of Nowhere, Nothing answered "yes."

-   Zi Ye, Collection of Chinese Folk Songs
6th-3rd century B.C.E.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Su Tung Po (1037-1101)

Pu Suan Tzu

A fragment moon hangs from the bare tung tree
The water clock runs out, all is still
Who sees the dim figure come and go alone
Misty, indistinct, the shadow of a lone wild goose?

Startled, she gets up, looks back
With longing no one sees
And will not settle on any of the cold branches
Along the chill and lonely beach
Su Tung-po :

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hsu Yun (1840-1959!)

Returning to Mount Gu after Forty years' absence to assist in the Funeral arrangements for Xianglian Gong
This used to be my mountain home.
Now the place and I are strangers.
My hair, all streaked with grey;
The courtyard garden, dry and filled with stunted weeds.

Xianglian Gong and I were old friends,
But we don't recognize each other.
Maybe I retreated too far.

The past keeps rushing up to me.
Confused, I ask myself, "What do I do next?"
I look around, bewildered by so much neglect.
Only then do I notice that tears are running down my cheeks.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dogen Zenji (1200-1253)

       To what shall
       I liken the world?
       Moonlight, reflected
       In dewdrops.
       Shaken from a crane's bill.

                    -    Dogen, 1200 - 1253

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cui Hao (704-754)

Yellow Crane Tower
Cui Hao 704-754

A man rode off on a crane long ago
Yellow Crane Tower is all that remains
Once the crane left it never returned
For a thousand years clouds have wandered in vain
The trees of Hanyang shine in midstream
The sweet plants of spring overrun Parrot Isle
At sunset I wonder which way is home
Mist on the river only means sorrow

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ho Xuan Huong (1772-1822)

Floating Sweet Dumpling

My body is powdery white and round
I sink and bob like a mountain in a pond
The hand that kneads me is hard and rough
You can't destroy my true red heart
Ho Xuan Huong :

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Wuwen Huikai (1183-1260)


Ten thousand flowers in spring,
the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer,
snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded
by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Ho Xuan Huong (1772-1882)


Mother and father gave birth to a snail
Night and day I crawl in smelly weeds
Dear prince, if you love me, unfasten my door
Stop, don't poke your finger up my tail!
Ho Xuan Huong :

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Li Qingzhao (1084-1151)

Tz'U No. 4

To the tune of "Like a Dream"

Last night a sprinkling of rain,
a violent wind.

After a deep sleep, still not recovered
from the lingering effect of wine,
I inquired of the one rolling up the screen;
But the answer came: "The cherry-apple blossoms
are still the same."

"Oh, don't you know, don't you know?
The red must be getting thin,
while the green is becoming plump."
Li Ching Chao :

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Chia Tao (779-843)

Morning Travel

Rising early
to begin the journey;
not a sound
from the chickens next door.

Beneath the lamp,
I part from the innkeeper;
on the road, my skinny horse
moves through the dark.

Slipping on freshly
hoarfrosted stones,
threading through woods,
we scare up birds roosting.

Behind us, a bell
tolls in far mountains;
the colors of daybreak
gradually clear.
Chia Tao :

Monday, October 12, 2015

Wang Wei (699-761)

Returning to Songshan Mountain
Wang Wei

The limpid river runs between the bushes,
The horse and cart are moving idly on.
The water flows as if with a mind of its own,
At dusk, the birds return to perch together.
The desolate town is faced by an ancient ferry,
The setting sun now fills the autumn hills.
And far below high Songshan's tumbling ridges,
Returning home, I close the door for now.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Confucius (551-479 BC)

Tsze-kung Said

Tsze-kung said,
“What do you pronounce concerning the poor man who
yet does not flatter, and the rich man who is not proud?”
The Master replied,
“They will do; but they are not equal to him, who, though
poor, is yet cheerful, and to him, who, though rich, loves the rules
of propriety.”

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Lao Tzu (c.500 BC)

Tao Te Ching

Can You Coax Your mind?
Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child’s?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from you own mind
and thus understand all things?
Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Chen Ziang (656-702)

On Climbing You Chou Terrace
Ahead I cannot see the ancient faces,
Behind I cannot see the coming sages.
I brood upon the endlessness of Nature,
Lonely and sick at heart, with falling tears.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

Sighs of Autumn Rain

Du Fu

In autumn rain, the grasses rot and die,
Below the steps, the jueming's colour is fresh.
Full green leaves cover the stems like feathers,
And countless flowers bloom like golden coins.
The cold wind, moaning, blows against you fiercely,
I fear that soon you'll find it hard to stand.
Upstairs the scholar lets down his white hair,
He faces the wind, breathes the fragrance, and weeps.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ikkyu Sojun (1394-1481)

A master’s handiwork cannot be measured
But still priests wag their tongues explaining the “Way” and babbling about “Zen.”
This old monk has never cared for false piety
And my nose wrinkles at the dark smell of incense before the Buddha.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

Sighs of Autumn Rain

In Chang'an, who notices the cloth-gowned scholar?
Locked behind his gate and guarding his walls.
The old man doesn't go out, the weeds grow tall,
Children blithely rush through wind and rain.
The rustling rain hastens the early cold,
And geese with wet wings find high flying hard.
This autumn we've had no glimpse of the white sun,
When will the mud and dirt become dry earth?

Du Fu:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Li Ching Chao (1084-1151)

Autumn Love

Search. Search. Seek. Seek.
Cold. Cold. Clear. Clear.
Sorrow. Sorrow. Pain. Pain.
Hot flashes. Sudden chills.
Stabbing pains. Slow agonies.
I can find no peace.
I drink two cups, then three bowls,
Of clear wine until I can’t
Stand up against a gust of wind.
Wild geese fly over head.
They wrench my heart.
They were our friends in the old days.
Gold chrysanthemums litter
The ground, pile up, faded, dead.
This season I could not bear
To pick them. All alone,
Motionless at my window,
I watch the gathering shadows.
Fine rain sifts through the wu-t’ung trees,
And drips, drop by drop, through the dusk.
What can I ever do now?
How can I drive off this word —
Li Ching Chao :

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Li Bai (701-762)

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.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Han Yu (768-824)

Snow in Spring
Han Yu

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 blossoms.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ouyang Xiu (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.