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

Events on West Stream: For Lu She by Wei Ting-wu

My bedroom door overlooks a jade stream
the stillness of dawn drives cares away
a fine rain reaches deserted woods
ripples spread across the water
nothing else happens all day
in the mountains the sound of an axe
you’ve lived amid dust and noise too long
come loosen those troublesome hat strings awhile

translated by Red Pine

reflecting on how difficult it is to maintain one’s principles among unprincipled people, I turned to my old friend Wei Ying-wu for comfort and understanding: Seeing Off Censor Chang of the Palace Library Leaving for Chiangtso to Care for His Parents by Wei Ying-wu

Don’t sigh about the road beyond the city gate
or that you won’t be coming back in a carriage
your brocade robes are there in your trunk
along with your books from rue-scented halls
with red rice grown in a well-watered land
and whitefish fresh from the Yangtze
your breakfasts can also be offerings
what good is longing for fortune and fame

translated by Red Pine

New Year’s Eve: Spending the Night Outside Ch’ang-chou City by Su Tung-p’o

From the traveler, singing; from the field, weeping—both spur sorrow.
Fires in the distance, dipping stars move slowly toward extinction.
Am I waiting up for New Year’s? Aching eyes won’t close.
No one here speaks my dialect: I long for home.
A double quilt and my feet still cold—the frost must be heavy;
my head feels light—I washed it and the hair is getting thin.
I thank the flickering torch that doesn’t refuse
to keep me company on a lonely boat through the night.

translated by Burton Watson