Untitled Poem 3 by Li Shang-yin

East winds hush and sigh, and delicate spring rains arrive:
out beyond the lotus pond, there’s the whisper of thunder:

the golden moon-toad gnaws a lock open: incense drifts in:
jade tiger circles back, pulling silk rope to draw well-water:

the secret love of Lady Chia and young Han led to marriage,
and the Lo River goddess shared her bed with a Wei prince:

don’t hope for spring passion that rivals all those blossoms
burgeoning forth: an inch of longing’s just an inch of ash.

translated by David Hinton


UnTitled Poem 2 by Li Shang-yin

It’s so hard to be together, and so hard to part: a tender
east wind is powerless: the hundred blossoms crumble:

the heart-thread doesn’t end until the silkworm’s dead,
and tears don’t dry until the candle’s burnt into ash:

she grieves, seeing white hair in her morning mirror,
and chanting at night, she feels the chill of moonlight:

exquiste Paradise Mountain–it isn’t so very far away,
and that azure bird can show us the way back anytime.

translated by David Hinton

my apology

Hello everyone who follows me,

I just want to apologize beforehand if I am late in reading and responding to your posts. There are quite a few of you now that I follow religiously and I know you in turn follow me by our “likes” and comments. I appreciate all of you and though like you I spend a good part of my day reading your writing and viewing your photos &/or artwork (and I truly enjoy that time), I might be a little slow in doing so for the rest of this week and the beginning of next. I must return to NY for one of those in quickly and out even faster visits to go to the Turkish Consulate to get my passport stamped for my work visa. This is my second such quickie visit and will be even more harried than the last one since I’m sqeezing in two very old friends I couldn’t see last time and also some of my family as well as spending more time in The Strand picking up books not only for me but for my good friend Ali that we can’t get here in Turkey. I also intend to eat my fair share of Italian sausage (something I miss terribly here) and the hotel I am staying at is within walking distance of a favorite Thai restaurant of mine so I plan to indulge myself with people/things I have sorely missed these long years I have been away. Some of my family I have not seen for almost 10 years so it will be a long awaited reunion. Hence, the last poem I posted by Tu Mu. If you substitute “what were you doing” for “who were you fighting” than the poem applies beautifully to me.

So please bear with me if I am somewhat absent, ( though I have drafted a few poems to post later from my iPad) but it’s the reading of your posts I may be somewhat delayed in. I tend to do most of my reading from my yahoo inbox rather than The Reader since that is often unreliable, and that inbox fills up pretty quickly. But I don’t lose anything that way and will read them all eventually.

Now to have my last two sessions today at work before I go home to pack, pay some attention to the cat, and catch a few hours sleep before the Petkim driver comes to collect me at 2am for my drive to the airport and the beginning of my journey.

Till later, Len

Sent Far Away by Tu Mu

These mountains emerald clouds at the far end of distance.
In tonight’s clarity, one sound: a whisper of white snow.

I’m sending thoughts of you a thousand miles of moonlight:
scraps of light along canyon streams, haze of steady rain.

translated by David Hinton