Taking A Trail Up From Deva-king Monastery To The Guesthouse Where My Friend Wang Chung-hsin And I Wrote Our Names On A Wall Fifty Years Ago, I Find The Names Still There by Lu Yu

Meandering these greens, azure all around, you plumb antiquity.
East of the wall, above the river, stands this ancient monastery,

its thatched halls we visited so long ago. You a mountain sage,
I here from Wei River northlands: we sipped wine, wrote poems.

Painted paddle still, I drift awhile free. Then soon, I’m nearing
home, azure walking-stick in hand, my recluse search ending.

Old friends dead and gone, their houses in ruins, I walk through
thick bamboo, deep cloud, each step a further step into confusion.

translated by David Hinton

On the Wall-Tower above K’uei-chou at Night, Thinking of Tu Fu by Lu Yu

Done advising emperors, hair white–no one cared about
old Tu Fu, his life scattered away across rivers of the west,

chanting poems. He stood on this tower once, and now he’s
gone. Waves churn the same isolate moon. Inexhaustible

through all antiquity, this world’s great dramas just rise
and sink away. Simpleton and sage alike return in due time.

All these ice-cold thoughts, who’ll I share them with now?
In depths of night, gulls and egrets lift off sand into flight.

translated by David Hinton

Looking at a Map of Ch’ang-an by Lu Yu

My hair’s turning gray, but this devotion to our country remains.
South of the peaks, I’ve been gazing north into southern mountains

all year. To mount a horse, spear athwart: that’s where my heart is,
laughing at those chicken-shits digging moats around our capital. . .

Sun sinks away. Smoke comes windblown over ridges. It’s autumn,
and the sound of watchmen banging cookpots fills tumbling clouds.

Ravaged fathers in Ch’ang-an country go on grieving and looking
looking for the emperor’s armies coming back through the passes.

translated by David Hinton

The Small Pond by Yang Wan-li

A spring’s eye of shadow resists even the slightest flow.
Among tree shadow, its lit water adorns warm clear skies.

Spiral of blades, a tiny waterlily’s clenched against dew,
and there at the very tip, in early light, sits a dragonfly.

translated by David Hinton

At Hsieh Cove by Yang Wan-li

The ox path I’m on ends in a rabbit trail, and suddenly
I’m facing open plains and empty sky on all four sides.

My thoughts follow white egrets–a pair taking flight,
leading sight across a million blue mountains rising

ridge beyond ridge, my gaze lingering near then far,
enthralled by peaks crowded together or there alone.

Even a hill or valley means thoughts beyond knowing–
and all this? A crusty old man’s now a wide-eyed child!

translated by David Hinton