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 :