On and On: An Ancient Song (Yüeh-fu) by Li Ho

White reflection retreats to western hills.
A jasper corona goes up in the distance.
The past, the present: where to end?
A thousand years gone with the winds.
Sands of the sea turn into stones.
Fish bubble, blast the bridge of Ch’in.
Light of the sky wanders far away.
Bronze pillars erode with the years.

translated by Wai-lim Yip

the words

the words
so faint now
at three am
with a glass
or three
of Jameson
to add to the haze
that is memory
here there
a voice fades
in out
and time
that old bandit
robs me
once again
of the words

To Li Po on a Winter Day by Tu Fu

Alone in my secluded hut,
I think of you all day, Li Po.

Whenever I read of friendship,
I remember your friendly poems.

Harsh winds tatter your old clothes
as you search for the wine of endless life.

Unable to go with you, I remember only
that old hermitage we’d hoped to make a home.

translated by Sam Hamill

the questions

there is a world
out there
beyond the window screen
and as he feels
the breeze brush his face
on this mild winter day
he wonders
what would life be like
outside the safety
of this house
and the cat
looks back
at me
as if I had
all the answers
to all the questions
in both of our heads