Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Bamboo and Plum Blossom
Bamboo and Plum Blossom

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

T'ao Ch'ien (365-427)

Ninth Day, Ninth Month

Slowly autumn comes to an end.
Painfully cold a dawn wind thicks the dew.
Grass round here will not be green again,
Trees and leaves are already suffering.
The clear air is drained and purified
And the high white sky’s a mystery.
Nothing’s left of the cicada’s sound.
Flying geese break the heavens’ silence.
The Myriad Creatures rise and return.
How can life and death not be hard?
From the beginning all things have to die.
Thinking of it can bruise the heart.
What can I do to lighten my thoughts?
Solace myself drinking the last of this wine.
Who understands the next thousand years?
Let’s just make this morning last forever.

Tu Fu (712-770)

Moon at Night in Ch’ang-an

North of here in the moonlight
She too looks up in loneliness.
I am sad for our little children,
Too young to think of far off Ch’ang-an.

Clouds of hair wet with jewelled mist.
Cold light on arms of jade.
When will we two stir the silk curtains
While one moon shows the stain of tears?

Note: Tu is in the occupied capital. The past glory is already distant in time. His wife and children are in Fu-chou in the north-east. Those who are parted are linked to each other through watching the same moon.

Du Fu (712-770)

Spring in Ch’ang-an

Fallen States still have hills and streams.
Cities, in Spring, have leaves and grass.
Though tears well at half-open flowers.
Though parted birds rise with secret fears.
War beacons shine through triple moons.
Home news is worth more than gold.
Grey hairs, tugged at every disaster,
Thin on this head that’s too small for its cap.