Death of My Horse by Wang An-Shih

In loving devotion to this old guest among pine and bamboo, it
slept nights beneath my east window how many years? A colt

come from heaven’s stable, it’s turned dragon now and set out,
leaving only a lame little donkey for my wanderings in idleness.

translated by David Hinton

For the Beach Gulls by Po Chü-I

The crush of age is turning my hair white
and I’m stuck with purple robes of office,

but if my body’s tangled in these fetters,
my heart abides where nothing’s begun.

Happening on wine, I’m drunk in no time,
and loving those mountains, I return late.

They don’t know who I am. Seeing official
falcon-banners flutter, beach gulls scatter.

translated by David Hinton

from Madly Singing in the Mountains by Bai Juyi (Po Chü-I)

And often, when I have finished a new poem,
Alone I climb the road to the Eastern Rock.
I lean my body on the banks of white Stone;
I pull down with my hands a green cassia branch.
My mad singing startles the valleys and hills;
The apes and birds all come to peep,
Fearing to become a laughingstock to the world,
I choose a place that is unfrequented by men.

translated by Tony Barnstone & Chou Ping

After Lunch by Po Chü-i

After eating lunch, I feel so sleepy.
Waking later, I sip two bowls of tea,

then notice shadows aslant, the sun
already low in the southwest again.

Joyful people resent fleeting days.
Sad ones can’t bear the slow years.

It’s those with no joy and no sorrow—
they trust whatever this life brings.

translated by David Hinton

Idle Song by Po Chü-i

After such painstaking study of empty-gate dharma,
everything life plants in the mind dissolved away:

there’s nothing left now but that old poetry demon.
A little wind or moon, and I’m chanting an idle song.

translated by David Hinton

Fallen Flowers by Li Shang-yin

From the tall pavilion the guests have all departed;
In the little garden flowers helter-skelter fly.
They fall at random on the winding path,
And travel far, setting off the setting sun.
Heartbroken, I cannot bear to sweep them away;
Gazing hard, I watch them till few are left.
Their fragrant heart, following spring, dies;
What they have earned are tears that wet one’s clothes.

translated by James J. Y. Liu