Song by Ch’in Kuan

Pleading eyebrows, intoxicating eyes!
When I first looked at you, I knew my heart was lost.

Do you remember that time in the west–
your billowing, cloudlike hair,

your best silk stockings, your lilac tongue?
You said to me, “When was I treated so well?”

But before the clouds and rain,
east winds blew everything away.

I’m grieving still,
but heaven doesn’t hear.

translated by Sam Hamill

Farewell Song by Ch’in Kuan

Faint clouds caress the mountains
where blue sky enters dry grass.

From the watchtower, a lone horn sounds.
Suddenly, I want to stop my little boat

and share a farewell cup of wine.
Our time together was a glimpse of paradise.

But it is futile to remember—
only the mist remains.

translated by Sam Hamill

Rain during the Cold Food Festival by Su Tung-p’o

This is my third Cold Food Festival
since I was exiled to Huang-chou.

Each parting spring, each year, I grieve.
Nevertheless, each passes–no regret.

This year there’s pestilential rain,
the past two months dark as autumn.

I lie still, listening to cherry blossoms fall
into snow, pink and growing muddy.

Of what steals things in the dark,
the strangest arrives at midnight:

as though a young man went to bed
only to wake and find his hair turned white.

translated by Sam Hamill

Dream by Wang An-shih

Knowing lifetimes are like dream, I search for nothing now.
Searching for nothing, a mind is perfectly empty, perfectly

quiet, and so deep in dream it traces borderlands of dream
clear through river and shoreline sands to the end of dream.

translated by David Hinton

Cut Flowers by Wang An-shih

Getting this old isn’t much fun,
and it’s worse stuck in bed, sick.

I draw water and arrange flowers,
comforted by their scents adrift,

scents adrift, gone in a moment.
And how much longer for me?

Cut flowers and this long-ago I:
it’s so easy forgetting each other.

translated by David Hinton