Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tu Mu (803-852)


Stories of passion make sweet dust,
Calm water, grasses unconcerned.
At sunset, when birds cry in the wind,
Petals are falling like a girl s robe long ago.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Cai Yen (162-239CE)

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Was withdrawn from the Han Dynasty.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.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Meng Haoran (d.740)

To Buddhist Priest Yuan From Chang'an
Meng Haoran

I'd often like to lie atop a hill,
Instead I suffer hardship, lacking money.
This northern land was never what I wished,
Instead I think of my teacher in the eastern forest.
Golden flecks in the ash of cassia wood,
My great ideals decline more year by year.
As the sun goes down, a chilling wind appears,
To hear cicadas makes me sorrow more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Du Fu (712-770)

Climbing High
Du Fu

Swift wind, heaven high, an ape's cry of grief,
At the islet of clear white sand, birds circle round.
Endlessly, trees shed leaves, rustling, rustling down,
Without cease, the great river surges, surges on.
Ten thousand miles in sorrowful autumn, always someone's guest,
A hundred years full of sickness, I climb the terrace alone.
Suffering troubles, I bitterly regret my whitening temples,
Frustratingly I've had to abandon my cup of cloudy wine.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Chia Tao (779-843)

At first light, you ride
swiftly over the village bridge;

Plum blossoms fall
on the stream and unmelted snow.

With the days short and the weather cold,
it’s sad to see a guest depart;

The Ch’u Mountains are boundless,
and the road, remote.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Confucius (551-479BC)

“To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order; we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”
― Confucius

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Yang Wanli (1127-1206)

Listening To The Rain

A year ago my boat, homeward bound,
moored at Yen-ling-
I was kept awake all night by the rain
beating against the sails
Last night the rain fell on the thatched roof
of my house.
I dreamed of che sound of rain
beating against the sails.
Yang Wanli :

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Huang Po (d.850)

On Fear:
Ordinary people look to their surroundings, while followers of the Way look to Mind, but the true Dharma is to forget them both. The former is easy enough, the latter very difficult. Men are afraid to forget their minds, fearing to fall through the Void with nothing to stay their fall. They do not know that the Void is not really void, but the realm of the real Dharma.
- Huang Po

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tu Mu (803-852)


Even in this good reign, how can I serve?
The lone cloud rather, the Buddhist peace....
Once more, before crossing river and sea,
I face the great Emperor's mountain-tomb.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Third Ch'an Patriarch Chien-chih Seng-ts'an

Hsin Hsin Ming
Inscribed on the Believing Mind

The Great Way is not difficult
for those who have no preferences.
When love and hate are both absent
everything becomes clear and undisguised.
Make the smallest distinction, however,
and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
If you wish to see the truth
then hold no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
is the disease of the mind.
When the deep meaning of things is not understood
the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
The Way is perfect like vast space
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject
that we do not see the true nature of things.
Live neither in the entanglements of outer things,
nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things
and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.
When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity
your very effort fills you with activity.
As long as you remain in one extreme or the other
you will never know Oneness.
Those who do not live in the single Way
fail in both activity and passivity,
assertion and denial.
To deny the reality of things
is to miss their reality;
to assert the emptiness of things
is to miss their reality.
The more you talk and think about it,
the further astray you wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking,
and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
To return to the root is to find the meaning,
but to pursue appearances is to miss the source.
At the moment of inner enlightenment
there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness.
The changes that appear to occur in the empty world
we call real only because of our ignorance.
Do not search for the truth;
only cease to cherish opinions.

Su Tung-Po (1037-1101)

Shui Lung Yin

Like a flower, but not a flower
No one cares when it falls
And lies discarded at the roadside
But though
Unmoved, I think about
The tangle of wounded tendrils
Lovely eyes full of sleep
About to open,yet
Still in dreams, following the wind ten thousand miles
In search of love
Startled, time and again, by the oriole's cry

Do not pity the flower that flies off
Grieve for the western garden
Its fallen red already beyond mending --
Now, after morning rain
What's left?
A pond full of broken duckweed
If the three parts of spring
Two turn to dust
One to flowing water
Look --
These are not catkins
But drop after drop of parted lover's tears
Su Tung-po :

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

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 :

Yang Wan-Li (1127-1206)

Rising Early

Chrysanthemums in bloom-as gaunt as ever;
peonies, leaves falling off; seem completely withered.
A locust, frozen nearly to death,
clings desperately to a cold branch.
Yang Wanli :

Yang Wan Li (1127-1206)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ho Xuan Huong (772-822)

Three-Mountain Pass

A cliff face. Another. And still a third.
Who was so skilled to carve this craggy scene:

the cavern's red door, the ridge's narrow cleft,
the black knoll bearded with little mosses?

A twisting pine bough plunges in the wind,
showering a willow's leaves with glistening drops.

Gentlemen, lords, who could refuse, though weary
and shaky in his knees, to mount once more?
Ho Xuan Huong :

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 :

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Wang Wei (699-761)

Temple Tree Path
Wang Wei

A narrow, sunless path to the temple tree,
Deep and dark; abundant green moss.
Wait by the gate when finished sweeping the yard,
In case a monk should come down from the hill.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Li Qingzhao (1084-1156)

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 :

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Li Yu (937-978)

I Climb the Western Tower in Silence (Joy of Meeting)
Li Yu

I climb the western tower in silence, the moon like a sickle.
Clear autumn is locked in the deep courtyard, where a wutong tree stands lonely.
Sorrowful parting has cut, but not severed our ties; my mind is still wild.
Separation is just like a taste in head and heart.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Li Po (701-762)

Autumn River Song

The moon shimmers in green water.
White herons fly through the moonlight.

The young man hears a girl gathering water-chestnuts:
into the night, singing, they paddle home together.

Bai Juyi (772-846)


How Iushly
the grasses grow on the plain!
Year after year,
they wither before flourishing.
No wildfire can
burn them all.
When spring winds blow,
they sprout once more.
Far away, their fragrance
pervades the ancient road;
on a clear day, their green
extends to the ruined wall.
Now it is you whom I must
see off, my dear friend.
How can the Iuxuriant grass
not feel my parting pain!

Po Chu-i (772-846)

Lament for Peony Flowers
I grieve for the red peony flowers by the steps.
By this evening two branches have withered.
Tomorrow morning wind will blow away the rest.
At night I keep sad watch, hold flame over the dying red.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hồ Xuân Hương (1772-1822)

The Temple Of Fragrance

Who could have fashioned this marvel?
The mountain cracks into a wide, hollow cave.
Pious Buddhists struggle to set foot inside,
others gaze at it tirelessly.
Drippings form a sweet streamlet,
as sailors on incoming junks bend their heads.
City folk also flock to these springs and woods.
Clever, indeed, the Old Man in Heaven!
Ho Xuan Huong :

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Du Mu (803-852)

Pure Brightness Festival
Du Mu

At the time of the Pure Brightness festival, the rain is swirling round,
On the road, the spirit of the traveler is almost broken.
He politely asks at what place an inn can be found?
A shepherd boy points far away to apricot blossom village.

Hsu Yun (1840-1959)

In Praise of Elder Master Gu Ting

Again, I am in the Elder's debt.
Not only have I always filled myself with his treasures
But his visit here tonight has given me a theme for this discourse.

He arrived: A fresh wind blows over an open field.
He arrived: The beautiful sun comes in the morning.
Even golden walls have to respect the wind.

His treasures! He's the very source of Chan!
>From his depths issue fortune and wisdom.
With a wish he evaporates oceans of winter grief
And creates a Spring in all the Ten Directions.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Chia Tao (779-843)

Abode of the Unplanned Effect

The grass-covered path
is secluded and still,
A closed door faces
the Chungnan Mountains??

In the evening the air’s chilly
but the light rain stops,
At dawn, far off,
a few cicadas start

Leaves fall
where no green earth remains
a person at his ease
wears a plain robe

With simplicity and plainness
his original nature still,
what need to practice
“calming of the heart”

Li Shangyin (813-858)


Boundless the leaves roused by spring,
Countless the twigs which tremble in the dawn.
Whether the willow can love or not,
Never a time when it does not dance.
Blown fluff hides white butterflies,
Drooping bands disclose the yellow oriole.
The beauty which shakes a kingdom must reach through all the body:
Who comes only to view the willow's eyebrows?
Li Shangyin :

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Li Qi (690-751)

Li QiA Lute Song
Our host, providing abundant wine to make the night mellow,
Asks his guest from Yangzhou to play for us on the lute.
Toward the moon that whitens the city-wall, black crows are flying,
Frost is on ten thousand trees, and the wind blows through our clothes;
But a copper stove has added its light to that of flowery candles,
And the lute plays The Green Water, and then The Queen of Chu.
Once it has begun to play, there is no other sound:
A spell is on the banquet, while the stars grow thin....
But three hundred miles from here, in Huai, official duties await him,
And so it's farewell, and the road again, under cloudy mountains.

Li Qi (690-751)

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.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

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.

Li Bai (701-762)

Question and Answer on the Mountain
Li Bai

You ask for what reason I stay on the green mountain,
I smile, but do not answer, my heart is at leisure.
Peach blossom is carried far off by flowing water,
Apart, I have heaven and earth in the human world.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Zhang Jiuling (张九龄, 675-740 AD)

 望月怀远 wànɡ yuè huái yuǎn – Looking At The Moon And Thinking Of One Far Away
海上生明月,hǎi shànɡ shēnɡ mínɡ yuèThe moon, grown full now over the sea,
天涯共此时。tiān yá ɡònɡ cǐ shíBrightening the whole of heaven,
情人怨遥夜,qínɡ rén yuàn yáo yèBrings to separated hearts
竟夕起相思。jìnɡ xī qǐ xiānɡ sīThe long thoughtfulness of night….
灭烛怜光满,miè zhú lián ɡuānɡ mǎnIt is no darker though I blow out my candle.
披衣觉露滋。pī yī jué lù zīIt is no warmer though I put on my coat.
不堪盈手赠,bù kān yínɡ shǒu zènɡSo I leave my message with the moon
还寝梦佳期。huán qǐn mènɡ jiā qīAnd turn to my bed, hoping for dreams

Li Bai (701-762)

静夜思 jìng yè sī – Quiet Night Thoughts
床前明月光chuáng qián míng yuè guāngI wake, and moonbeams play around my bed,
疑是地上霜yí shì dì shàng shuāngGlittering like hoar-frost to my wandering eyes;
举头望明月jǔ tóu wàng míng yuèUp towards the glorious moon I raised my head,
低头思故乡dī tóu sī gù xiāngThen lay me down — and thoughts of home arise.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Lan Hua Cao Orchid (Tang.)

Gan Yu - 1

The moon declines
Into the western sea
To be reborn anew

The sun’s journey
Has almost begun
Soon to be ascendant

Bright radiance
Fills the East
The sky bursting

Yet cloudy is the soul
At the moment of dawn

So the Ultimate gives birth
To Heaven and Earth

The three realms
Each in its turn
Waxing and waning

Until arriving
At the essence
Of full understanding

Three realms five times
A new moon begins to rise
Who is capable
Of taking such a journey

感遇 其一


Mei Yaochen (1002-1060)

Staying Overnight with Xie Shihou in the Xu Family Library and Being Bothered By Hearing Rats
Mei Yaochen

The lamp is blue, the men are all asleep,
Hungry rats start to emerge from a hole.
The noise of tumbling cups and plates is loud,
I’m startled by the noise: my dream is ended.
I worry they’ll knock the inkstone from the table,
I’m frightened that they’ll gnaw the books on the shelf.
My silly boy tries to miaow like a cat:
That’s a really daft idea.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Liu Yu Hsi (772-842)



HILLS surround the ancient kingdom; they never change.
The tide beats against the empty city, and silently, silently, returns.
To the East, over the Huai River – the ancient moon.
Through the long, quiet night it moves, crossing the battlemented wall.

Po Chu-I (772-846)



THE sun rose while I slept. I had not yet risen 132
When I heard an early oriole above the roof of my house.
Suddenly it was like the Royal Park at dawn,
With birds calling from the branches of the ten-thousand-year trees.
I thought of my time as a Court Official
When I was meticulous with my pencil in the Audience Hall.
At the height of Spring, in occasional moments of leisure,
I would look at the grass and growing things,
And at dawn and at dusk I would hear this sound.
Where do I hear it now?
In the lonely solitude of the City of Hsün Yang.
The bird's song is certainly the same,
The change is in the emotions of the man.
If I could only stop thinking that I am at the ends of the earth,
I wonder, would it be so different from the Palace after all?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sun Buer (1119-1182)

Refining the Spirit

The relic from before birth
Enters one’s heart one day.
Be as careful as if you were holding a full vessel,
Be as gentle as if you were caressing an infant.
The gate of earth should be shut tight,
The portals of heaven should be first opened.
Wash the yellow sprouts clean,
And atop the mountain is thunder shaking the earth.

Sun Buer (1119-1182)

Cutting Brambles

Cut brambles long enough,
Sprout after sprout,
And the lotus will bloom
Of its own accord:
Already waiting in the clearing,
The single image of light.
The day you see this,
That day you will become it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wang Changling (698-765)

Wang Changling
Under a Border-fortress
Drink, my horse, while we cross the autumn water!-
The stream is cold and the wind like a sword,
As we watch against the sunset on the sandy plain,
Far, far away, shadowy Lingtao.
Old battles, waged by those long walls,
Once were proud on all men's tongues.
But antiquity now is a yellow dust,
Confusing in the grasses its ruins and white bones.

Zhang Jiuling (b.678)

Zhang JiulingOrchid and Orange I
Tender orchid-leaves in spring
And cinnamon- blossoms bright in autumn
Are as self- contained as life is,
Which conforms them to the seasons.
Yet why will you think that a forest-hermit,
Allured by sweet winds and contented with beauty,
Would no more ask to-be transplanted
THan Would any other natural flower?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Lao Tzu (d.531BC)

“At the center of your being you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”

Wang Wei (669-701)

Farewell (II)
Wang Wei

We bid each other farewell beside the hill,
As day meets dusk, I close the wooden gate.
Next year, in spring, there will be green grass again,
But will my honoured friend return?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Du Fu (712-770)

Spring View
Du Fu

The country is broken, though hills and rivers remain,
In the city in spring, grass and trees are thick.
Moved by the moment, a flower's splashed with tears,
Mourning parting, a bird startles the heart.
The beacon fires have joined for three months now,
Family letters are worth ten thousand pieces.
I scratch my head, its white hairs growing thinner,
And barely able now to hold a hairpin.

Tao Qian (365-427)

Returning to Live in the South (II) Tao Qian

I sow my beans below the southern hills,
Though grasses flourish, the sprouting beans are scarce.
I rise at dawn to clear the wasteland up,
Beneath the moon I carry back my hoe.
The path is narrow, the trees and grass grown tall,
My clothes are dampened by the evening dew.
Yet dampened clothes are nothing to begrudge,
If only my desires can be fulfilled.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Su Shi (1036-1101)

A Painting Of A Rural Marriage Scene, Two Quatrains, No. 2
Owned By Chen Jichang  

Su Shi 1036-1101 
I myself am Zhuchen's
        former prefect,
To encourage agriculture
        once I went to Apricot Blossom.
But the scene there today,
        who could bear to paint it?
County bailiffs demanding taxes
        bang on doors at midnight.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Du Fu (712-770)

Winding River (1)
Du Fu

Each piece of flying blossom leaves spring the less,
I grieve as myriad points float in the wind.
I watch the last ones move before my eyes,
And cannot have enough wine pass my lips.
Kingfishers nest by the little hall on the river,
Unicorns lie at the high tomb's enclosure.
Having studied the world, one must seek joy,
For what use is the trap of passing honour?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Du Fu (712-770)

Tangshi I. 1. (10)

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.