from Dreaming of Li Po, Two Poems by Tu Fu: Poem 2

Leonard Durso

Drifting clouds pass by all day long;
The wanderer is long in getting here.
Three nights now you’ve entered my dreams–
Which shows how good a friend you are.
But your leave-takings are hurried,
Bitterly you say, it’s not easy to come;
The river’s waters are wind-blown and choppy,
And you’re afraid to lose your oars.
Outside the door, you scratch your white head,
As if a lifetime’s ambition were forfeit.
Officials teem in the capital city,
Yet you alone are wretched.
Who says the net is wide,
When it tangles such a man in his old age?
An imperishable fame of a thousand years
Is but a paltry, after-life affair.

translated by Eugene Eoyang

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from Dreaming of Li Po, Two Poems by Tu Fu: Poem 1

Leonard Durso

Parted by death, we swallow remorse;
Apart in life, we always suffer.
South of the river, miasmal place,
From the banished exile, not a word!
Old friend, you appeared in a dream,
It shows you have been long in my thoughts.
Perhaps it wasn’t your living soul:
The way’s too far, it couldn’t be done.
Your spirit came: and the maples were green:
Your spirit left: the mountain pass darkened.
Friend, now that you’re ensnared down there,
How did you manage to wing away?
Moonlight shines full on the rafters,
Yet I wonder if it isn’t your reflection.
The waters are deep, the waves expansive:
Don’t let the water-dragon get you!

translated by Eugene Eoyang

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these dreams

Leonard Durso

they just won’t stop
I wake up exhausted
at all hours
when sleep should be a priority
but these dreams don’t listen
causing associations
dreaming creates
in these movies
in my head
people come go
time shifts now then
and you a star
in my sleep
in my brain
as I play a supporting part
to you in dreams
I wish would be
reality

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