Nothing More? by Juan Ramon Jimenez

Leonard Durso

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.

Nothing more.
. . . . . . .Are you perhaps
the breeze that comes and goes
from the sky, love, to my face?

translated by Dennis Maloney & Clark Zlotchew

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The Inlaid Harp by Li Shang-Yin

Leonard Durso

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

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Listening To Lu Tzu-hsün Play The Ch’in On A Moonlit Night by Li Po (Li Bai)

Leonard Durso

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

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On the road to Ch’ang-an by Liu Yung

Leonard Durso

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.
It’s not
as it was
when I was young.

translated by J.P. Seaton

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