Sent to Ch’ao, the Palace Reviser by Meng Hao-jan

You polish words in rue-scented libraries,
and I live in bamboo-leaf gardens, a recluse

wandering every day the same winding path
home to rest in the quiet, no noise anywhere.

A bird soaring the heights can choose a tree,
but the hedge soon tangles impetuous goats.

Today, things seen becoming thoughts felt:
this is where you start forgetting the words.

translated by David Hinton

Hsiang-yang Travels: Thinking of Meng Hao-jan by Po Chü-i

Emerald Ch’u mountain peaks and cliffs,
emerald Han River flowing full and fast:

Meng’s writing survives here, its elegant
ch’i now facets of changing landscape.

But today, chanting the poems he left us
and thinking of him, I find his village

clear wind, all memory of him vanished.
Dusk light fading, Hsiang-yang empty,

I look south to Deer-Gate Mountain, haze
lavish, as if some fragrance remained,

but his old mountain home is lost there:
mist thick and forests all silvered azure.

translated by David Hinton


wine can’t quiet
the nerves
which twitch
and the heart
which beats
a bit faster
even the cat
quite accustomed
to mood shifts
is jumpy
and avoids
the open suitcase
and what it signifies
will follow

Autumn Thoughts: 1 by Meng Chiao


Lonely bones can’t sleep nights. Singing
insects keep calling them, calling them.

And the old have no tears. When they sob,
autumn weeps dewdrops. Strength failing

all at once, as if cut loose, and ravages
everywhere, like weaving unraveled,

I touch thread-ends. No new feelings.
Memories crowding thickening sorrow,

how could I bear southbound sails, how
wander rivers and mountains of the past?

translated by David Hinton