Pliant by Chu Shu Chen

Spring flowers, Autumn moons,
Water lilies still carry
Away my heart like a lost
Boat. As long as I am flesh
And bone I will never find
Rest. There will never come a
Time when I will be able
To rest my emotions.

translated by Kenneth Rexroth

Fisherman by Ou Yang Hsiu

The wind blows the line out from his fishing pole.
In a straw hat and grass cape the fisherman
Is invisible in the long reeds.
In the fine spring rain it is impossible to see very far
And the mist rising from the water has hidden the hills.

translated by Kenneth Rexroth

Moon, Flowers, Man by Su Tung P’o

I raise my cup and invite
The moon to come down from the
Sky. I hope she will accept
Me. I raise my cup and ask
The branches, heavy with flowers,
To drink with me. I wish them
Long life and promise never
To pick them. In company
With the moon and the flowers,
I get drunk, and none of us
Ever worries about good
Or bad. How many people
Can comprehend our joy? I
Have wine and moon and flowers.
Who else do I want for drinking companions?

translated by Kenneth Rexroth

Wine and Rain by Li Shang-yin

I ponder on the poem of The Precious Dagger.
My road has wound through many years.
. . .Now yellow leaves are shaken with a gale;
Yet piping and fiddling keep the Blue Houses merry.
On the surface, I seem to be glad of new people;
But doomed to leave old friends behind me,
I cry out from my heart for Shin-feng wine
To melt away my thousand woes.

\translated by Witter Bynner & Kiang Kang-hu

To One Unnamed: poem 1 by Li Shang-yin

A faint phoenix-tail gauze, fragrant and doubled,
Lines your green canopy, closed for the night. . .
Will your shy face peer round a moon-shaped fan,
And your voice be heard hushing the rattle of my carriage?
It is quiet and quiet where your gold lamp dies,
How far can a pomegranate-blossom whisper?
. . .I will tether my horse to a river willow
And wait for the will of the southwest wind.

translated by Witter Bynner & Kiang Kang-hu

lifting a burden

coming home late
after a stop at The Belfast
to my own bottle of Irish
and thoughts of yesterday
today
hope for tomorrow
I toast the ghosts
hovering in corners
ice cubes bump shoulders
the overhead fan twirls
I take another book
from the shelf
there my friends from China
a tavern apart
and 1300 years
much to discuss
lifting a burden
from deep in the heart

On The Gate Tower At Yo-chou by Tu Fu

I had always heard of Lake Tung-t’ing–
And now at last I have climbed to this tower.
With Wu country to the east of me and Ch’u to the south,
I can see heaven and earth endlessly floating.
. . .But no word has reached me from kin or friends.
I am old and sick and alone with my boat.
North of this wall there are wars and mountains–
And here by the rail how can I help crying?

translated by Witter Bynner & Kiang Kang-hu

A Night at a Tavern by Tu Mu

Solitary at a tavern,
I am shut in with loneliness and grief.
Under the cold lamp, I brood on the past;
I am kept awake by a lost wildgoose.
. . .Roused at dawn from a misty dream,
I read, a year later, news from home—
And I remember the moon like smoke on the river
And a fisher-boat moored there, under my door.

translated by Witter Bynner & Kiang Kang-hu