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

Thoughts Sent on My Way Home from River-Serene, After Stopping to Gaze at Samadhi-Forest Monastery by Wang An-shih

My lame donkey hates the stony road
up there, and I’m done with big climbs.

It seems forever since I saw you, my old
monk friend. Our youth suddenly gone,

I keep following morning clouds away,
then race evening birds back into this

valley of pines all shadowed dark. Here,
I know you in the distances between us.

translated by David Hinton

for some reason a poem I identify with: A Hundred Days, Free to Go by Su Tung-p’o

A hundred days, free to go, and it’s almost spring;
for the years left, pleasure will be my chief concern.
Out the gate, I do a dance, wind blows my face;
our galloping horses race along as magpies cheer.
I face the wine cup and it’s all a dream,
pick up a poem brush, already inspired.
Why try to fix the blame for past trouble?
Years now I’ve stolen posts I never should have had.

translated by Burton Watson

***Written on his release from prison after 130 days and before leaving for a remote post which was essentially like exile again. 

Drank Tonight at Eastern Slope by Su Tung-p’o

Drank tonight at Eastern Slope, sobered up, drank again;
got home somewhere around third watch.
The houseboy snores like thunder;
I bang the gate but nobody answers.
Leaning on my stick, I listen to river sounds.

Always it irks me–this body not my own.
When can I forget the world’s business?
Night far gone, wind still, river creped in ripples:
I’ll leave here in a little boat,
on far waters spend the years remaining.

translated by Burton Watson