Moonlit Night by Tu Fu

Tonight at Fu-chou, this moon she watches
Alone in our room. And my little, far-off
Children, too young to understand what keeps me
Away, or even remember Ch’ang-an. By now,

Her hair will be mist-scented, her jade-white
Arms chilled in its clear light. When
Will it find us together again, drapes drawn
Open, light traced where it dries our tears?

translated by David Hinton

thanksgiving on the other side of the world

there are voices calling my name
on the other side of the world
an empty chair
a glass not filled with wine
dark meat with gravy
stuffing with mushrooms
and Robert’s famous meatballs and gravy
hot and sweet sausage
broccoli with garlic, lemon and oil
Johnny bought blueberry pie
only I’m not getting a piece
’cause I’m over here
on the other side of the world
quietly finishing a bottle of wine
trying not to think of your voice
the sorrow in the air
fresh flowers don’t quite kill the smell
of disappointment
another year gone by
that empty chair
that bottle of wine unopened
ice cream melting on a plate
Al Martino singing love songs
George serving salad
and you sliding food onto my plate
the cat under the table
my hand reaching across
grabbing nothing
grabbing air
on the other side
of the world

Longing in My Heart by Wei Ying-wu

Shall I ask the willow trees on the dike
For whom do they wear their green spring dress?
In vain I saunter to the places of yesterday,
And I do not see yesterday’s people.
Weaving through myriad courtyards and village squares,
Coming and going, the dust of carriages and horses–
Do not say I have met with no acquaintance:
Only they are not those close to my heart.

translated by Irving Y. Lo