Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Lao Tzu (d.531BC)

The way you can go
isn’t the real way.
The name you can say
isn’t the real name,
Heaven and earth
begin in the unnamed:
name’s the mother
of the ten thousand things.
So the unwanting soul
sees what’s hidden,
and the ever-wanting soul
sees only what it wants.
Two things, one origin,
but different in name,
whose identity is mystery.
Mystery of all mysteries!
The door to the hidden.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mei Yao-ch'en (1002-1060)

Eyes Dark
A darkness disease has seized my eyes.
On bright clear days, I Walk through fog,
and whatever I see is double. It’s scary.
My writing brush scrawls around, lost.
People coming toward me look like haze
and birds soaring past are a quick blur.
No telling what’s what in this confusion,
I’m suddenly free of likes and dislikes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Li Qi (690-751)


Bamboo from the southern hills was used to make this pipe.
And its music, that was introduced from Persia first of all,
Has taken on new magic through later use in China.
And now the Tartar from Liangzhou, blowing it for me,
Drawing a sigh from whosoever hears it,
Is bringing to a wanderer's eyes homesick tears....
Many like to listen; but few understand.
To and fro at will there's a long wind flying,
Dry mulberry-trees, old cypresses, trembling in its chill.
There are nine baby phoenixes, outcrying one another;
A dragon and a tiger spring up at the same moment;
Then in a hundred waterfalls ten thousand songs of autumn
Are suddenly changing to The Yuyang Lament;
And when yellow clouds grow thin and the white sun darkens,
They are changing still again to Spring in the Willow Trees.
Like Imperial Garden flowers, brightening the eye with beauty,
Are the high-hall candles we have lighted this cold night,
And with every cup of wine goes another round of music.

Li Qi (690-751)

Li Qi  An Old War-song
Through the bright day up the mountain, we scan the sky for a war-torch;
At yellow dusk we water our horses in the boundaryriver;
And when the throb of watch-drums hangs in the sandy wind,
We hear the guitar of the Chinese Princess telling her endless woe....
Three thousand miles without a town, nothing but camps,
Till the heavy sky joins the wide desert in snow.
With their plaintive calls, barbarian wildgeese fly from night to night,
And children of the Tartars have many tears to shed;
But we hear that the Jade Pass is still under siege,
And soon we stake our lives upon our light warchariots.
Each year we bury in the desert bones unnumbered,
Yet we only watch for grape-vines coming into China.
Tang Shi IV. 1. (75) IntroductionTable of content

Monday, March 28, 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?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Hsieh Ling-yun (385-433)

Dwelling in the Mountains
Here where I live,
lakes on the left, rivers on the right,
you leave islands, follow shores back
to mountains out front, ridges behind.
Looming east and toppling aside west,
they harbor ebb and flow of breath,
arch across and snake beyond, devious
churning and roiling into distances,
clifftop ridgelines hewn flat and true.

Lao Tzu (circe 600BC) - Tao Te Ching

Words spoken about the Way have no taste. When looked at, there’s not enough to see. When listened to, there’s not enough to hear. When used, it is never exhausted.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Li Shangyin (813-858)

Li Shangyin
Falling Petals
Gone is the guest from the Chamber of Rank,
And petals, confused in my little garden,
Zigzagging down my crooked path,
Escort like dancers the setting sun.
Oh, how can I bear to sweep them away?
To a sad-eyed watcher they never return.
Heart's fragrance is spent with the ending of spring
And nothing left but a tear-stained robe.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Meng Hao-jan (690-740)

Sent to Ch'ao, the Palace Reviser
You polish words in rue-scented libraries,
and I live in bamboo-leaf gardens, a recluse
wandering each day the same winding path
home to rest in the quiet, no noise anywhere.
A bird soaring the heights chooses its tree,
but the hedge soon tangles impetuous goats.
Today, things seen becoming thoughts felt:
this is where you start forgetting the words.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Li T'ai-Po (li Bai 701-762)



ALAS! Alas! The danger! The steepness! O Affliction!
The Shu Road is as perilous and difficult as the way to the Green Heavens. 11
No greater undertaking than this has been since Ts'an Ts'ung and Yü Fu ruled the land. 12
For forty-eight thousand years no man had passed the boundary of Ch'in.
Westward, over the Great White Mountain, was a bird-track
By which one could cross to the peak of Omei.
But the earth of the mountain fell and overwhelmed the Heroes so that they perished. 13
Afterwards, therefore, they made sky-ladders and joined the cliffs with hanging pathways.
Above, the soaring tips of the high mountains hold back the six dragons of the sun; 14
Below, in the ravines, the flowing waters break into whirlpools and swirl back against the current.
Yellow geese flying toward the peaks cannot pass over them;
The gibbons climb and climb, 15 despairingly pulling themselves up higher and higher, but even their endurance fails.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Luo Binwang (618-684)

Ode to the Goose
Luo Binwang

Goose, goose, goose,
You bend your neck towards the sky and sing.
Your white feathers float on the emerald water,
Your red feet push the clear waves.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Shih Ching (Book of Odes 11th-7th cent. BC)

Lamenting the Absence of a Cherished Friend
Though small my basket, all my toil
Filled it with mouse-ears but in part.
I set it on the path, and sighed
For the dear master of my heart.
2My steeds, o’ertasked, their progress stayed,
When midway up that rocky height.
Give me a cup from that gilt vase,
When shall this longing end in sight?
3To mount that lofty ridge I drove,
Until my steeds all changed their hue.
A cup from that rhinoceros’ horn
May help my longing to subdue.
Striving to reach that flat-topped hill,
My steeds, worn out, relaxed their strain;
My driver also sank oppressed:
I’ll never see my lord again!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Li Ch'ing-chao (1084-1151)

 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, March 17, 2016

Confucius (551-479)

Celebrating The Opulence Of The Lords Of Ts'In

Our ruler to the hunt proceeds;
And black as iron are his steeds
That heed the charioteer's command,
Who holds the six reins in his hand.
His favorites follow to the chase,
Rejoicing in his special grace.

The season's males, alarmed, arise--
The season's males, of wondrous size.
Driven by the beaters, forth they spring,
Soon caught within the hunters' ring.
'Drive on their left,' the ruler cries;
And to its mark his arrow flies.

The hunting done, northward he goes;
And in the park the driver shows
The horses' points, and his own skill
That rules and guides them at his will.
Light cars whose teams small bells display,
The long-and short-mouthed dogs convey.
Confucius :

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wei Yang-wu (737-791)

Lanling Hemitage

Up high to a cloister of rock walls
I pushed aside clouds and climbed
a fine hike was what I hoped for
ignoring the dangers I reached my prize
but as light on the escarpment faded
and streams branched out like the lines in my hand
and the forests held nothing but loneliness
and the pinnacles disappeared into space
a man of the Way after reaching such heights
descended alone in the stillness of night
the mountain turned dark after sunset
a hundred springs echoed across the fall sky
my lamentable burdens reappeared intact
why can’t I stay free of cares

Monday, March 14, 2016

anon. (1st cent.BC)


In a narrow road where there was not room to passMy carriage met the carriage of a young man.And while his axle was touching my axleIn the narrow road I asked him where he lived.“The place where I live is easy enough to find,Easy to find and difficult to forget.The gates of my house are built of yellow gold,[33] The hall of my house is paved with white jade,On the hall table flagons of wine are set,I have summoned to serve me dancers of Han-tan.[6]In the midst of the courtyard grows a cassia-tree,—And candles on its branches flaring away in the night.”

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Wang Wei (699-761)

Cooling Off
Clear waters drift through the immensity of a tall forest.
In front of me a huge river mouth
receives the long wind.
Deep ripples hold white sand
and white fish swimming as in a void.
I sprawl on a big rock,
billows nourishing my humble body.
I gargle with water and wash my feet.
A fisherman pauses out on the surf.
So many fish long for bait. I look
only to the east with its lotus leaves.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Shih Ching (11th to 7th cent.BC)


Friday, March 11, 2016

Yu Xuanji (844-869)

Selling Wilted Peonies

Facing the wind, she raises a sigh as the petals fall and fall;
fragrant thoughts all sink and vanish with yet another spring.
No one asks about them, because their price is high,
though even butterflies can't come close to a fragrance that's so strong.
Red petals that should only have grown in a palace,
jade-green leaves tainted by the dust of the road
if only they were moved into the imperial gardens,
young nobles would regret having no means to buy!
Yu Xuanji :

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Anon (1st.cent BC)


Anon. (first century B.C.)
In the eastern quarter dawn breaks, the stars flicker pale.The morning cock at Ju-nan mounts the wall and crows.The songs are over, the clock[5] run down, but still the feast is set.[31] The moon grows dim and the stars are few; morning has come to the world.At a thousand gates and ten thousand doors the fish-shaped keys turn;Round the Palace and up by the Castle, the crows and magpies are flying.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Li T'ai Po (Li Bai 701-762)



THE mist is thick. On the wide river, the water-plants float smoothly.
No letters come; none go.
There is only the moon, shining through the clouds of a hard, jade-green sky. 19
Looking down at us so far divided, so anxiously apart.
All day, going about my affairs, I suffer and grieve, and press the thought of you closely to my heart.
My eyebrows are locked in sorrow, I cannot separate them.

Nightly, nightly, I keep ready half the quilt,
And wait for the return of that divine dream which is my Lord.
Beneath the quilt of the Fire-Bird, on the bed of the Silver-Crested Love-Pheasant, 20
Nightly, nightly, I drowse alone.
The red candles in the silver candlesticks melt, and the wax runs from them,
As the tears of your so Unworthy One escape and continue constantly to flow. 21
A flower face endures but a short season,
Yet still he drifts along the river Hsiao and the river Hsiang.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Yang Wanli (1127-1206)

Reading By The Window

I idly open a book of T'ang poems
and find a petal of peach blossom, still fresh.
I remember taking this book with me
to read among the flowers
and realize that another year has passed.
Yang Wanli :

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Frost by Tzu Yeh as translated by Bruce Lee

Tzu Teh (4th cent.)

At the time when blossoms
Fall from the cherry-tree:
On a day when yellow birds
Hovered in the branches -
You said you must stop,
Because your horse was tired:
I said I must go,
Because my silkworms were hungry.

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”.
I will carry my coat and not put on my belt;
With unpainted eyebrows I will stand at the front window.
My tiresome petticoat keeps on flapping about;
If it opens a little, I shall blame the spring wind.
I heard my love was going to Yang-chou
And went with him as far as Ch’u-shan.
For a moment when you held me fast in your outstretched arms
I thought the river stood still and did not flow.
I have brought my pillow and am lying at the northern window,
So come to me and play with me awhile.
With so much quarrelling and so few kisses
How long do you think our love can last?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Hsin Hsin Ming - Seng T'san (529-606)

The Great Way is not difficult
for those not attached to preferences.
When neither love nor hate arises,
all is clear and undisguised.
Separate by the smallest amount, however,
and you are as far from it as heaven is from earth.

If you wish to know the truth,
then hold to no opinions for or against anything.
To set up what you like against what you dislike
is the disease of the mind.

When the fundamental nature of things is not recognized
the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
The Way is perfect as vast space is perfect,
where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Anon 1st cent BC.



At fifteen I went with the army,At fourscore I came home.On the way I met a man from the village,I asked him who there was at home.“That over there is your house,All covered over with trees and bushes.”Rabbits had run in at the dog-hole,Pheasants flew down from the beams of the roof.In the courtyard was growing some wild grain;And by the well, some wild mallows.I’ll boil the grain and make porridge,I’ll pluck the mallows and make soup.Soup and porridge are both cooked,But there is no one to eat them with.I went out and looked towards the east,While tears fell and wetted my clothes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Yang Wanli (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 :

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Li T'ai-Po (701-762)



THE heavy clouds are broken and blowing,
And once more I can see the wide common stretching beyond the four sides of the city.
Open the door. Half of the moon-toad is already up, 17
The glimmer of it is like smooth hoar-frost spreading over ten thousand li. 18
The river is a flat, shining chain.
The moon, rising, is a white eye to the hills;
After it has risen, it is the bright heart of the sea.
Because I love it – so – round as a fan,
I hum songs until the dawn.