White reflection retreats to western hills.
A jasper corona goes up in the distance.
The past, the present: where to end?
A thousand years gone with the winds.
Sands of the sea turn into stones.
Fish bubble, blast the bridge of Ch’in.
Light of the sky wanders far away.
Bronze pillars erode with the years.
translated by Wai-lim Yip
so faint now
at three am
with a glass
to add to the haze
that is memory
a voice fades
that old bandit
of the words
Alone in my secluded hut,
I think of you all day, Li Po.
Whenever I read of friendship,
I remember your friendly poems.
Harsh winds tatter your old clothes
as you search for the wine of endless life.
Unable to go with you, I remember only
that old hermitage we’d hoped to make a home.
translated by Sam Hamill
there is a world
beyond the window screen
and as he feels
the breeze brush his face
on this mild winter day
what would life be like
outside the safety
of this house
and the cat
as if I had
all the answers
to all the questions
in both of our heads
there are some mornings
the call to prayer
after a long illness
or a hardship endured
but at no times
more than these
with the passing
of a beloved friend
for words fail
what the Ezan
does for me now
it speaks the volumes
in my heart
Unless they carry the news of spring days
All the newspapers had better be closed
And unless the type metal smells of rose
All the papers ought to come out blank.
He who knows not the rose should not govern;
No one should talk of social order and what not
If the people forsake the time of the rose
And abandon the sagging acacia to rot.
They are the only true friends of the seasons:
From heavenly gardens a grade-school girl descends
Holding the loveliest of orders in her hands
A red rose and a white rose.
Living is the oldest of all constitutions:
Blood is a rose, joy is a rose, love is a rose,
And bread is a rose awakened at daybreak;
So the headlines of daily papers should read:
Beam like a rose, laugh like a rose, be a rose.
translated by Talat S. Halman
You used to have a friend
About five years ago
I saw her yesterday
In the street. She was pleased.
Just there standing up
We said a few words.
She was married,
A girl and a boy.
She asked about you.
“He hasn’t changed a bit,”
I said. “As you knew him.”
She was happy. Loved her husband.
They owned their house now.
Like a criminal, guilty,
She sent you her regards.
translatede by Murat Nemet-Nejat