from Visiting Gold Mountain Temple by Su Tung-p’o

I went back to bed puzzled, uncertain what I’d seen—
not human, not ghostly, what could it have been?
All these river hills, and I don’t go home to hills of my own—
the river god sent this wonder to chide my stupidity!
Apologies to the river god, but right now what can I do?
If in the end I don’t return to homeland fields, let him punish me as he will!

translated by Burton Watson

The Southern Room Over the River by Su Tung-p’o

The room is prepared, the incense burned.
I close the shutters before I close my eyelids.
The patterns of the quilt repeat the waves of the river.
The gauze curtain is like a mist.
Then a dream comes to me and when I awake
I no longer know where I am.
I open the western window and watch the waves
Stretching on and on to the horizon.

translated by Kenneth Rexroth

Spring Night by Su Tung-p’o

The few minutes of a Spring night
Are worth ten thousand pieces of gold.
The perfume of the flowers is so pure.
The shadows of the moon are so black.
In the pavilion the voices and flutes are so high and light.
In the garden a hammock rocks
In the night so deep, so profound.

translated by Kenneth Rexroth