The water country’s reeds and rushes, night, covered with frost;
The moon’s coldness, the mountains’ cast share a bleak, pale blue.
Who can say, from this night on, a thousand li away,
My dreams of you, dim as the distant frontier?
translated by Eric W. Johnson
How long before I’ve grown feathers and wings
and settled beside you at the end of flight?
translated by David Hinton
Bright blossoms seldom last long;
Life’s ups-and-downs can’t be charted.
What was a lotus flower in spring,
Is now the seed-husk of autumn.
Severe frost freezes the wild grass:
Decay has yet to finish it off.
Sun and moon come back once more,
But where I go, no sun will shine.
I look back longingly on times gone by–
Remembering the past wounds my soul.
translated by Eugene Eoyang
…my soul is not fashioned like other men’s.
To drive in their rut I might perhaps learn:
To be untrue to myself could only lead to muddle.
Let us drink and enjoy together the wine you have brought:
For my course is set and cannot now be altered.
translated by Arthur Waley
a sip today of
Turkish coffee no sugar
kick the brain alive
it must be the month
always a bit difficult
both parents died
in this month
at the beginning
and the end
the middle being
no piece of cake
there were birthdays
of women once important
a sort of yin and yang month
once both light and dark
now all dark
and I hold my breath
as I near the end
watching the rear view mirror
for what’s coming
while keeping my hands steady
as I move forward
one tentative step
at a time
toward the promise
of an early spring
That it’s by my desire,
This separation, this living so far from you?
My dress still smells of the lavender you gave:
My hand still holds the letter that you sent.
Round my waist I wear a double sash:
I dream that it binds us both with a same-heart knot.
Did not you know that people hide their love,
Like the flower that seems too precious to be picked?
translated by Arthur Waley
If you were to ask me why I dwell among green mountains,
I should laugh silently; my soul serene.
The peach blossom follows the moving water;
There is another heaven and earth beyond the world of men.
translated by Robert Payne
it used to be
a glass of whiskey
was all that was needed
to put ghosts to sleep
an old dear friend
just isn’t up to the task
and I am beyond that crutch
now I face these old ghosts
and we converse
I listen to the old laments
the missed opportunities
the things not said
a hand not held
for one day
I too will be an old ghost
with my own regrets to tell
to whatever poor soul
awake at night
who will listen
and then I too
will grow drowsy
and fall asleep
after unburdening my sins
like these old ghosts
these friends of mine
who slumber around me
at peace for one more day
until night falls again
and their minds get working
reliving those past transgressions
that they need to recant
A wind, bringing willow-cotton, sweetens the shop,
And a girl from Wu, pouring wine, urges me to share it
With my comrades of the city who are here to see me off;
And as each of them drains his cup, I say to him in parting,
Oh, go and ask the river running to the east
If it can travel faster than a friend’s love!
translated by Witter Bynner & Kiang Kang-hu