New Year’s Eve: Spending the Night Outside Ch’ang-chou City by Su Tung-p’o

From the traveler, singing; from the field, weeping—both spur sorrow.
Fires in the distance, dipping stars move slowly toward extinction.
Am I waiting up for New Year’s? Aching eyes won’t close.
No one here speaks my dialect: I long for home.
A double quilt and my feet still cold—the frost must be heavy;
my head feels light—I washed it and the hair is getting thin.
I thank the flickering torch that doesn’t refuse
to keep me company on a lonely boat through the night.

translated by Burton Watson

Beard by Orhan Veli Kanık

Which of you can make lanterns
From pumpkins like me;
Or carve an old boat on them
With a pearl-handled knife;
Write poems
Or letters;
Or get up;
Which of you can please
His girl
The way I do!

This beard didn’t grey for nothing!

translated by George Messo

Shijo 2270 by U T’ak

In one hand I grabbed a bramble,
in the other a stick:
the bramble to block the advance of age, the stick to stay approaching white hair.
White hair, though,
outwitted me: it took a shortcut here.

translated by Kevin O’Rourke