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

Tune: “The Beautiful Lady Yu” by Li Yü

When will the last flower fall, the last moon fade?
So many sorrows lie behind.
Again last night the east wind filled my room—
O gaze not on the lost kingdom under the bright moon.

Still in her light my palace gleams as jade
(Only from bright cheeks beauty dies).
To know the sum of human suffering
Look at this river rolling eastward in the spring.

translated by Cyril Birch

Returning To My Retreat by Ch’en T’uan

Through the red dust I tramped for ten years
green mountains though were often in my dreams
a purple cord brings fame but can’t compare to sleep
crimson gates are grand but having less is better
how sad to hear swords guarding a feeble lord
how depressing the songs of noisy drunks
I’m taking my old books back to my retreat
to wildflowers and birdsongs and the same old spring

translated by Red Pine