Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Monday, August 31, 2015

Hsieh Ling-yun (385-433)

Dwelling in the Mountains #18
Slipping from gardens to fields
and from fields on toward lakes,
I float and drift on and on along
rivers to realms of distant water,
sage pools in mountain streams deepening into recluse dark
and hazy confusions of wild rice clearing away along islands.
Fragrant springwater swells into springtime cascades here,
and chilled waves quicken amid autumn’s passing clarity.
Wind churning up lakewater around islands full of orchids,
sunlight pours through pepper trees and on across the road,
and soaring lazily over the mid-stream island,
the pavillion there soaked in its luster, the moon in water is a perfect joy.
Lingering out shadows, mornings infuse things with clarity,
and suffusing the air, fragrant scents settle into evenings
here, where thinking of loved ones lost to me forever now,
I can look forward to the evanescent visits of cloud guests.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Wang Wei (699-761)


I have sailed the River of Yellow Flowers,
Borne by the channel of a green stream,
Rounding ten thousand turns through the mountains
On a journey of less than thirty miles....
Rapids hum over heaped rocks;
But where light grows dim in the thick pines,
The surface of an inlet sways with nut-horns
And weeds are lush along the banks.
...Down in my heart I have always been as pure
As this limpid water is....
Oh, to remain on a broad flat rock
And to cast a fishing-line forever!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)


There are sobs when death is the cause of parting;
But life has its partings again and again.
...From the poisonous damps of the southern river
You had sent me not one sign from your exile --
Till you came to me last night in a dream,
Because I am always thinking of you.
I wondered if it were really you,
Venturing so long a journey.
You came to me through the green of a forest,
You disappeared by a shadowy fortress....
Yet out of the midmost mesh of your snare,
How could you lift your wings and use them?
...I woke, and the low moon's glimmer on a rafter
Seemed to be your face, still floating in the air.
...There were waters to cross, they were wild and tossing;
If you fell, there were dragons and rivermonsters.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Yang Wanli (1127-1206)

Cold Sparrows

Hundreds of cold sparrows dive into the empty courtyard,
cluster on plum branches and speak of sun after rain at dusk.
They choose to gather en masse and kill me with noise.
Suddenly startled, they disperse. Then, soundlessness.
Yang Wanli :

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Han Shan (fl.9th cent.)

Asking The Way To Cold Mountain
        Hanshan (Tang)

Men ask the way to Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain: there's no through trail.
In summer, ice doesn't melt
The rising sun blurs in swirling fog.
How did I make it?
My heart's not the same as yours.
If your heart was like mine
You'd get it and be right here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tao Chien (365-427)

Returning to Live in the Country II

I always loved to walk the woods and mountains,
Pleased myself, lost in fields and marshes.
Now I go out with nephews, nieces,
In the wilds, parting hazel branches,
Back and forth through the mounds and hollows,
All around us signs of ancient peoples,
Remnants of their broken hearths and well-heads,
Mulberry and bamboo groves neglected.
Stop and ask the simple woodsman,
‘Where have all these people gone now?’
Turning he looks quietly and tells me,
‘Nothing’s left of them, they’re finished.’
One world. Though the lives we lead are different,
In courts of power or labouring in the market,
These I know are more than empty words:
Our life’s a play of light and shade,
Returning at last to the Void.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Chu Guangxi (707-760)

The Roads of Luoyang
        Chu Guangxi 707-760

The roads are straight as strands of hair
and full of the glories of spring
the noble young lords from the Wuling Hills
ride by in pairs with their bridles ringing

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Lao Tzu (6th cent BC)

1 – The Tao That can be Trodden

The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao.
The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.
(Conceived of as) having no name,
it is the Originator of heaven and earth; (conceived of as) having a name,
it is the Mother of all things.
Always without desire we must be found,
If its deep mystery we would sound;
But if desire always within us be,
Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.
Under these two aspects, it is really the same;
but as development takes place, it receives the different names.
Together we call them the Mystery.
Where the Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that
is subtle and wonderful.

Saturday, August 22, 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 —

Han Yu (768-824)

Late Spring
Han Yu

The plants all know that spring will soon return,
All kinds of red and purple contend in beauty.
The poplar blossom and elm seeds are not beautiful,
They can only fill the sky with flight like snow.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Li Ching-jau (fl.1135)

 Spring In Wu-ling
by Li Ching-jau (Southern Sung Period, 1135 A.D.)

The wind is still,
The earth smells sweet;
The flowers all have fallen here.

As evening comes,
I comb my hair.

His things remain
But he is gone;
So everything's over.

When I try to speak
The tears well up.

I hear that spring's
Still at its height
At Double Creek ...

I think of going to sail
The light skiffs there,
But alas, I fear
The grasshopper-boats
At Double Creek
Could never bear
So great a weight
Of sorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wang Wei (701-761)

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?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mei Yao-ch'en (1002-1060)

Staying Overnight in Hsü’s Library, Hsieh Shih-hou and I Are Driven Crazy by Rats
(Mei Yao-ch'en: 1002-1060)
Lamp flame low and blue, everyone asleep,
hungry rats come sneaking out of holes
and send plates and bowls crashing over,
startling us from our dream-filled sleep.
Bang— an inkstone tumbles off the table,
and we panic. Next they’re on the shelves
gnawing at books. Suddenly my silly boy
starts meowing like a cat! Goofy plan, eh?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Li Bai (701-762)


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, August 17, 2015

Yu Xuanji (844-869)



the late spring

by Yu Xuanji
lovers seldom come to this deep alley
their spirits have to linger on in dreams
whose fragrance of damask is this?
from which tower does this breeze blow the song?
sounds of drums in the street
disturb my morning sleep
magpies chirping in the courtyard
confuse my spring sorrows
how can I care
for things of this world?
ten thousand miles, my life,
like a boat unmoored

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Xue Tao (768-831)



the eagle away from the oversleeve

by Xue Tao

claws sharp as blades
eyes acute as tinkling bells
hunted rabbits over the plain received high praise
for no reason
soared into serene clouds
I must not again be held on the emperor’s shoulder

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Yuan Zhengzhen (c.1200)



paddling the lake

to the tune of changxiangsi (long lovesickness)
by Yuan Zhengzhen
to the north
to the south
mountains loom in the clouds
these mountains, this lake,
this scene
as if painted
I pluck a lotus
for pleasure
paddling a red boat
west to east
no path to the one I miss

Friday, August 14, 2015

Shang Qin (20th cent.)

Ever since she left, this cat has been coming in and
out of my place as she pleases; doors, windows, even
walls can’t stop her.
When she was with me, our life made the sparrows
outside the iron gate and iron-barred windows envious.
She took care of me in every way, including bringing me the
crescent moon with her hands on nights when there was a power outage,
and emitting cool air by standing next to me on humid summer
I made the mistake of discussing happiness with her.
That clay, contrary to my usual reticence, I said:
“Happiness is the half that people don’t have.” The
next morning, she left without saying goodbye.
She’s not the kind of woman who would write a
note with lipstick on the vanity mirror. She didn’t
use a pen either. All she did was inscribe these words
on the wallpaper with her long sharp fingernails:
“From now on, I will be your happiness, and you
Ever since this cat started coming in and out of my
place as she pleases, I have never really seen her, for
she always comes at midnight, leaves at daybreak.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072)

Scraps Of Cloud In Rosy Dusk

Scrap rosy cloud evening rays west lake good
Flower bank duckweed sandbar
Ten qing ripple peaceful
Wild bank without person boat self line

West south moon on float cloud scatter
Veranda railing cool born
Lotus scent clear
Water face wind come wine face sober
Scraps of cloud in rosy dusk- West Lake is good.
Flowers on the bank, duckweed on sand,
A hundred acres of peaceful ripples,
On the overgrown bank, no man- just the stroke of a boat.

South-west, across the moon, scattered clouds are drifting.
Cool rises at the terrace rail,
Lotus flowers' scent is clear,
Wind from the water's face makes the wine face sober.
Ouyang Xiu :

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Liu Zongyuan (773-819)

River Snow

Thousand hill bird flight cut
Ten thousand path person trace end
Lonely boat big straw hat old man
Alone fish cold river snow
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.
Liu Zongyuan :

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Fengkan (fl. 9th cent.)

I have been to Tientai
maybe a million times
like a cloud or river
drifting back and forth.
Roaming free of trouble
trusting the Buddha's spacious path
while the world's forked mind
only brings men pain.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Li Ho (790-816)

Immortals - Poem by Li Ho

Strumming his lute, high on a crag of stone,
Sits an immortal sylph flapping his wings.
White tail-plumes of a simurgh in his hand,
He sweeps the clouds at night from the Southern Hill.
Deer should drink down in the chill ravines,
Fish swim back to the shores of the clear sea.
Yet during the reign of Emperor Wu of Han
He sent a letter about the spring peach-blossoms.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hsieh Ling-Yun (385-433)

Traveling From Shih-Kuan Pavilion At Night

I have followed the mountains a thousand miles
floating on streams for ten nights, nearly.
Returning birds. I rest my oars.
The stars thin out. A weary trip.
With spreading dawn, the moon shines bright.
Cold sinks deep in the early dew.
Hsieh Ling-Yun :

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Du Fu (712-770)

Morning Rain

A slight rain comes, bathed in dawn light.
I hear it among treetop leaves before mist
Arrives. Soon it sprinkles the soil and,
Windblown, follows clouds away. Deepened

Colors grace thatch homes for a moment.
Flocks and herds of things wild glisten
Faintly. Then the scent of musk opens across
Half a mountain -- and lingers on past noon.  

Du Fu :

Friday, August 7, 2015

Tao Chien (365-427)

Lingering Clouds

How fair, the lingering clouds!
How misty, the seasonal rain!
Darkness fills the universe,
Blurring the level pathway.
I sit quietly in the eastern study,
Drinking spring wine alone.
My good friends are far away.
Scratching my head, I long for them.

How fair, the lingering clouds!
How misty, the seasonal rain!
Darkness fills the universe;
The land becomes a river.
I have wine! I have wine!
Leisurely I drink by the eastern window.
I yearn to speak to my friends,
But no boats or carts come.

The branches of the trees in the eastern garden
Are again burgeoning.
With their fresh beauty, they compete
To attract my love.
As the saying goes,
Time is short.
How can we find time to sit together
And talk of our lives?

Fluttering, the flying birds
Rest on the branches of my garden tree.
Scratching their feathers, they sit
And harmonize sweetly.
I have many friends
But I think most of you.
I want to talk with you, but you are not to be found.
How I resent it!
Tao Chien :

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Yuan Chen (779-831)

Peach Blossoms

Infinite peach-blossom shades,
her rouged and powdered cheeks.

Spring breezes help her break my heart,
blowing peach petals from her dress.
Yuan Chen :

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

LI Shang Yin (813-858)

For Ever Hard To Meet...

For ever hard to meet, and as hard to part.
Each flower spoiled in the failing East wind.
Spring's silkworms wind till death their heart's threads:
The wick of the candle turns to ash before its tears dry.
Morning mirror's only care, a change at her cloudy temples:
Saying over a poem in the night,
does she sense the chill in the moonbeam?
Not far, from here to Fairy Hill.
Bluebird, be quick now, spy me out the road.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Kuan Hsiu (832-912)

Hymn On The Way

Grass and trees have the buddha nature.
They are not different from me.
If I could just be like the grass and the trees,
I'd find the Way in no time.
Men nowadays won't go the Way:
point it out, and they curse it.
A wounded sigh for these folks:
paupers gone begging on a mountain of gold.
Kuan Hsiu :

Monday, August 3, 2015

Su Shi (1037-1101)

Impromptu Verse
Su Shi

My frosty hair blows loosely in the wind,
In this small pavilion, I lie sick on a rattan bed.
The doctor's reported my beautiful sleep this spring,
The Taoist rings the fifth watch bell with care.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Confucius (551BC-471BC)

A Woman Scorning Her Lover

O dear! that artful boy
Refuses me a word!
But, Sir, I shall enjoy
My food, though you're absurd!

O dear! that artful boy
My table will not share!
But, Sir, I shall enjoy
My rest, though you're not there!
Confucius :