Changing on Old Friends in a Village Inn by Tai Shu-lun

While the autumn moon is pouring full
On a thousand night-levels among towns and villages,
There meet by chance, south of the river,
Dreaming doubters of a dream. . .
In the trees a wind has startled the birds,
And insects cower from cold in the grass;
But wayfarers at least have wine
And nothing to fear–till the morning bell.

translated by Witter Bynner & Kiang Kang-hu

The Brocade Ch’in by Li Shang-yin

The brocade ch’in has fifty strings: there’s no reason for it,
each string and bridge conjuring up another bloom of youth:

in a morning dream, Chuang Tzu’s confused with a butterfly,
and Emperor Wang’s death left his spring passion to a nightjar

scattered blood: moonlight on vast seas–it’s a pearl’s tear:
far off, Indigo Mountain jade smokes in warm sun: up close,

smoke vanishes: can this feeling linger even in a memory:
never anything but this moment already bewildered and lost.

translated by David Hinton

yet one more translation of one of his best known poems

Idle Song by Po Chü-i

In moonlight, I envied vistas of clarity,
and in pine sleep adorned green shadow.

I wrote grief-torn poems when young,
plumbed the depths of feeling when old.

Now I sit up all night practicing ch’an,
and autumn can still bring a sudden sigh,

but that’s it. Two last ties. Beyond them,
nothing anywhere holds this mind back.

translated by David Hinton

playing darts

someone once said
possibly Vimal
that darts
were like life
and hitting
the bull’s eye
meant something
so okay
sometimes I get
a bull’s eye
but there are
all around
the board
in the wall
which I disavow
the cleaners
I say
must be them
and İbrahim
during our weekly
he doesn’t hear
the disclaimer
in my life

mussels & clams

they call
but hey
a rose is
a rose
and a mussel
is a clam
there was raggae
reminding me
of Peter Tosh
and Toots
and the Maytals
so you know
I was in
actually Alsancak
but close
mussels clams
bring them on
there’s a hole
in my stomach
just waiting
to be filled