they always smile
when I buy a ticket
to a show there
last time Hamlet
couldn’t be in Turkish
a language of its own
so is a smile
to brighten this day
on a non-Thanksgiving
they float in the air
five thousand miles
five six decades
there in ancient songs
Thinking of you, in autumn night,
Strolling, chanting the cool air.
Empty mountain: pine cones fall.
Secluded man: staying up, still?
translated by Wai-lim Yip
on land on sea
wherever I wander
who accompany me
my remaining years
oh what joy
an extra piece
of chocolate cake
a child’s smile
in the morning
Whose jade-flute is this, notes flying invisibly
Scatter into spring winds, filling City of Loyang?
Hearing the “Break-a-Willow-Twig” tonight,
Who can withhold the surge of thoughts of home?
ytranslated by Wai-lim Yip
the smell of roasting chestnuts
light fading into dusk
a dog barks
a cat lies serenely
on top of a car
and these old legs
climb the hill
I only hear a bell beyond the mist,
can’t see the mist-wrapped temple.
The man secluded there never stops walking–
dew from the grass soaks his straw sandals–
nothing but the mountaintop moon
each night to light his comings and goings.
translated by Burton Watson
One never knows what images one is going to hold in memory, returning to the city after a brief orgy in the country. I find this morning that what I most vividly and longingly recall is the sight of my grandson and his little sunburnt sister returning to their kitchen door from an excursion, with trophies of the meadow clutched in their tiny hands–she with a couple of violets, and smiling, he serious and holding dandelions, strangling them in a responsible grip. Children hold spring so tightly in their brown fists–just as grownups, who are less sure of it, hold it in their hearts.