Farewell to Shu Gu by Su Tung-p’o (Su Dong-Po)

I looked back at the jumbled ridges
No sign of people only their walls
I envy the stupa on Linping Mountain
It stands tall
greeted travelers from the west and saw one off

Dusk wind swept over my path home
My pillow turns chill and dreams don’t come
Tonight in the slanting light of a flickering lamp
tears glimmer
The autumn rains have stopped but not the tears

translated by Yun Wang

For the Beach Gulls by Po Chü-I

The crush of age is turning my hair white
and I’m stuck with purple robes of office,

but if my body’s tangled in these fetters,
my heart abides where nothing’s begun.

Happening on wine, I’m drunk in no time,
and loving those mountains, I return late.

They don’t know who I am. Seeing official
falcon-banners flutter, beach gulls scatter.

translated by David Hinton

from Madly Singing in the Mountains by Bai Juyi (Po Chü-I)

And often, when I have finished a new poem,
Alone I climb the road to the Eastern Rock.
I lean my body on the banks of white Stone;
I pull down with my hands a green cassia branch.
My mad singing startles the valleys and hills;
The apes and birds all come to peep,
Fearing to become a laughingstock to the world,
I choose a place that is unfrequented by men.

translated by Tony Barnstone & Chou Ping

Ten Years—Dead and Living Dim and Draw Apart by Su Tung-p’o

To the tune “Song of River City.” The year yi-mao, first month, twentieth day: recording a dream I had last night.

Ten years—dead and living dim and draw apart.
I don’t try to remember
but forgetting is hard.
Lonely grave a thousand miles off,
cold thoughts—where can I talk them out?
Even if we met you wouldn’t know me,
dust on my face,
hair like frost—

In a dream last night suddenly I was home.
By the window of the little room
you were combing your hair and making up.
You turned and looked, not speaking,
only lines of tears coursing down—
year after year will it break my heart?
The moonlit grave,
its stubby pines—

translated by Burton Watson