Autumn Evening: To Send to My Nieces and Nephews by Ch’i-chi

Each year, come the late autumn evenings,
I sit by the lamp recalling my old home,
gardens and groves red with oranges and pomelos,
windows and doors blue with Hsiao and Hsiang waters.
But since I left you old age has come on,
I quail at the long road that parts us.
Brothers young and old, just so you’re well,
tending fields and silkworms amid these fires of war!

translated  by Burton Watson

Don’t Ask by Ch’i-chi

Don’t ask if I’ve ceased wanting anything–
we all know the simile of the drifting clouds.
Excess wouldn’t fit the precepts:
take what comes and you’re never in doubt.
How happy, that worthy Yen!
Even the sage Confucius was poor.
Once you’ve passed the age of understanding
stop trying to change destiny’s course.

translated by Burton Watson