Traveling By River In Lınghan by Liu Tsung-yuan

Sailing south on infested waters into the land of mist
horizon of tanglehead stretching to the sea
hills marked by elephant swaths after a rain
dragon drool rising from the depths in the sun
poison-spitting frogs that can see a traveler’s shadow
a typhoon sky frightening the passengers on board
my concerns however are other than these
namely how to bear white hair and the disappearing years

translated by Red Pine

Drinking Wine by Liu Tsung-yuan

Feeling less than happy this morning
I got up and opened a fresh jug
Lifting my cup I thanked the wine gods
for this gift to chase away cares
a moment later I felt different
suddenly the whole world was fine
the gloom disappeared from the mountains
the warmth of the sky filled the river
at the town’s overgrown South Rampart
trees formed a canopy of leaves
the cool shade provided welcome relief
we heard fine words here last night
once we were drunk we stopped talking
we stretched out on sweet-smelling grass
the wealthiest men in the past
surely possessed nothing like this

translated by Red Pine

Reading Books by Liu Tsung-yuan

Living in obscurity I’ve given up current affairs
I bow my head in silence and reflect on the sage kings
the highs and lows of the ancient past
the ups and downs of countless paths
I laugh to myself when I’m pleased
when I’m sad I simply sigh
I take my books from their cases
I go through from front to back
despite the affliction of tropical diseases
I feel different than in the past
while reading I suddenly understand
when I’m done my mind is a blank
who can I talk with at night
if not these texts on bamboo and silk
I lie down when I get tired
after a good sleep I feel refreshed
I yawn and stretch my limbs
I read out loud to my heart’s content
I enjoy doing what suits me
not to please learned men
I shut up when I’ve said what I want
free of restraints I relax
the clever consider me stupid
the wise think I’m a fool
but reading has managed to make me happy
what good is working till you drop
cherish this body of yours
don’t use it to chase after fame

translated by Red Pine