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

from Miscellaneous Poems, Poem 3 by T’ao Ch’ien

Bright blossoms seldom last long;
Life’s ups-and-downs can’t be charted.
What was a lotus flower in spring,
Is now the seed-husk of autumn.
Severe frost freezes the wild grass:
Decay has yet to finish it off.
Sun and moon come back once more,
But where I go, no sun will shine.
I look back longingly on times gone by–
Remembering the past wounds my soul.

translated by Eugene Eoyang