Weeping for Ying Yao by Wang Wei

We send you home to a grave on Stone Tower Mountain;
through the green green of pine and cypress, mourners’ carriages return.
Among white clouds we’ve laid your bones–it is ended forever;
only the mindless waters remain, flowing down to the world of men.

translated by Burton Watson

there are dates: for my mother

there are dates
one remembers
etched in one’s consciousness
numbers in stone
and this date
in January
I will never forget
Mercy Hospital
the doctors the nurses
you shivering
a door closing
and crying in Dr. Tassey’s arms
the calls to my sister Theresa
my brother Johnny
and George in my doorway
at two in the morning
our tears our tears
and you gone
leaving this emptiness
in my heart

Oh Gaziantep, Oh Turkey

once
I ate pistachios
in Gaziantep
city of heroes
had baklava
and favored coffee
in pewter cups
ate kıyma kebab
in an Ottoman style restaurant
wandered through Zincirli Bazaar
and Bakırcılar çarşısi
fingering the copperware
beheld the mosaics
in the museum
wandered the ramparts
of Gaziantep Castle
where local warriors
fought the French
in 1920
for Turkish independence
was treated with warmth
and kindness
by the people
on its ancient streets
those streets now
soaked in blood
Oh Gaziantep
Oh Turkey

Parting from My Yin Daughter by Wang An-shih

I’ve only lived thirty years and already I feel old
wherever I look I’m beset by sorrow
I’ve come in this little boat to say goodbye tonight
here where the shores of life and death divide us

translated by Red Pine

note: written to his daughter who was buried on a small hill beyond a moat just before he had to leave the district for his next government posting