Wanderer’s Song by Meng Chiao

The thread in the hand of a kind mother
Is the coat on the wanderer’s back.
Before he left she stitched it close
In secret fear that he would be slow to return.
Who will say that the inch of grass in his heart
Is gratitude enough for all the sunshine of spring?

translated by A.C. Graham

Autumn Thoughts: 1 by Meng Chiao

1

Lonely bones can’t sleep nights. Singing
insects keep calling them, calling them.

And the old have no tears. When they sob,
autumn weeps dewdrops. Strength failing

all at once, as if cut loose, and ravages
everywhere, like weaving unraveled,

I touch thread-ends. No new feelings.
Memories crowding thickening sorrow,

how could I bear southbound sails, how
wander rivers and mountains of the past?

translated by David Hinton

Impromptu by Meng Chiao: posted for certain friends of mine

Keep away from sharp swords,
Don’t go near lovely woman.
A sharp sword too close will wound your hand,
Woman’s beauty too close will wound your life.
The danger of the road is not in the distance,
Ten yards is far enough to break a wheel.
The peril of love is not in loving too often,
A single evening can leave its wound in the soul.

translated by A.C. Graham

Wanderer’s Song by Meng Chiao

The thread in the hand of a kind mother
Is the coat on a wanderer’s back.
Before he left she stitched it close
In secret fear that he would be slow to return.
Who will say that inch of grass in his heart
Is gratitude for all the sunshine of spring?

translated by A.S. Graham