After the shower at Bashang

Wen Tingyun TO A FRIEND BOUND EAST The old fort brims with yellow leaves…. You insist upon forsaking this place where you have lived. A high wind blows at Hanyang Ferry And sunrise lights the summit of Yingmen…. Who will be left for me along the upper Yangzi After your solitary skiff has entered the

Read More

To live as pure a life as yours

Li Shangyin A CICADA Pure of heart and therefore hungry, All night long you have sung in vain — Oh, this final broken indrawn breath Among the green indifferent trees! Yes, I have gone like a piece of driftwood, I have let my garden fill with weeds…. I bless you for your true advice To

Read More

I see a sail in the far sky

Meng Haoran MEMORIES IN EARLY WINTER South go the wildgesse, for leaves are now falling, And the water is cold with a wind from the north. I remember my home; but the Xiang River’s curves Are walled by the clouds of this southern country. I go forward. I weep till my tears are spent. I

Read More

Is fame to be only for the ancients?

Wang Wei A MESSAGE TO COMMISSIONER LI AT ZIZHOU From ten thousand valleys the trees touch heaven; On a thousand peaks cuckoos are calling; And, after a night of mountain rain, From each summit come hundreds of silken cascades. …If girls are asked in tribute the fibre they weave, Or farmers quarrel over taro fields,

Read More

Sunset lingers at the ferry,

Wang Wei A MESSAGE FROM MY LODGE AT WANGCHUAN TO PEI DI The mountains are cold and blue now And the autumn waters have run all day. By my thatch door, leaning on my staff, I listen to cicadas in the evening wind. Sunset lingers at the ferry, Supper-smoke floats up from the houses. …Oh,

Read More

What is life to me without you?

Du Fu REMEMBERING MY BROTHERS ON A MOONLIGHT NIGHT A wanderer hears drums portending battle. By the first call of autumn from a wildgoose at the border, He knows that the dews tonight will be frost. …How much brighter the moonlight is at home! O my brothers, lost and scattered, What is life to me

Read More

I have poems; I can read

Li Bai THOUGHTS OF OLD TIME FROM A NIGHT-MOORING UNDER MOUNT NIU-ZHU This night to the west of the river-brim There is not one cloud in the whole blue sky, As I watch from my deck the autumn moon, Vainly remembering old General Xie…. I have poems; I can read; He heard others, but not

Read More

Master, I hail you from my heart

Cen Can A MESSAGE TO CENSOR Du Fu AT HIS OFFICE IN THE LEFT COURT Together we officials climbed vermilion steps, To be parted by the purple walls…. Our procession, which entered the palace at dawn, Leaves fragrant now at dusk with imperial incense. …Grey heads may grieve for a fallen flower, Or blue clouds

Read More