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

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.