My flesh is freezing cold, my heart in aches. Oh the poplar trees, the poplar trees… With coarse scissors, They carved me out of an old photograph. Half of my cheek remained there, Piecing it…
like passing ships
on a dark sea
but do not see
No, this pleasant afternoon
I cannot stay inside;
this free afternoon
I must go out in the air.
Into the laughing air
opening through the trees,
thousands of loves,
profound and waving.
The roses wait for me
bathing their flesh.
Nothing can keep me here;
I will not stay inside!
translated by Dennis Maloney
Only my face and the sky.
The only universe.
My face, alone, and the sky.
(Between them, the pure breeze,
a fond caress, the only hand
that brings so much plentifulness;
the breeze, always rising and falling.)
Above me, all that is life,
the entire dream within me,
brushing against my senses with its wings,
that he has brought into harmony.
. . . . . . .Are you perhaps
the breeze that comes and goes
from the sky, love, to my face?
translated by Dennis Maloney & Clark Zlotchew
there it is
before I grasped
I wonder why my inlaid harp has fifty strings,
Each with its flower-like fret an interval of youth.
. . . The sage Chuang-tzu is day-dreaming, bewitched by butterflies,
The spring-heart of Emperor Wang is crying in a cuckoo,
Mermen weep their pearly tears down a moon-green sea,
Blue fields are breathing their jade to the sun. . .
And a moment that ought to have lasted for ever
Has come and gone before I knew.
translated by Witter Bynner & Kiang Kang-hu
my mind held
The night’s lazy, the moon bright. Sitting
here, a recluse plays his pale white ch’in,
and suddenly, as if cold pines were singing,
it’s all those harmonies of grieving wind.
Intricate fingers flurries of white snow,
empty thoughts emerald-water clarities:
No one understands now. Those who could
hear a song this deeply vanished long ago.
translated by David Hinton
On the road to Ch’ang-an my horse goes slowly.
In the tall willows a confusion of cicada cries.
Slanting sun beyond the isles,
and winds of autumn on the plain. Only
where the heavens hang,
the view cut off.
The clouds go back, but
gone, they leave no track.
Where is the past?
Unused to indulgence, a little
wine’s no consolation.
as it was
when I was young.
translated by J.P. Seaton