Tune: “Treading on Grass” by Ou-yang Hsiu

At the post house lodge, plum flowers scattering,
by the valley bridge, willows coming out,
fragrant grass, warm wind that sways the traveler’s reins:
parting grief–the farther apart, the more endless it grows,
long and unbroken like a river in spring.

Inch on inch of gentle heart,
brimming, brimming, her rouge-stained tears:
the tower so tall–don’t go near, don’t lean on the high railing!
At the very end of the level plain–spring hills are there,
but the traveler’s even farther, beyond spring hills.

translated by Burton Watson

Tune: “Song of Picking Mulberry” by Ou-yang Hsiu

Ten years ago I was a visitor at the wine jar,
the moonlight white, the wind clear.
Then care and worry whittled me away,
time went by with astounding swiftness, and I grew old.

But though my hair has changed, my heart never changes.
Let me lift the golden flagon,
listen again to the old songs,
like drunken voices from those years long past.

translated by Burton Watson

Tune: Treading on Grass by Ou-yang Hsiu

At the post house lodge, plum flowers scattering,
by the valley bridge, willows coming out,
fragrant grass, warm wind that sways the traveler’s reins:
parting grief–the farther apart, the more endless it grows,
long and unbroken like a river in spring.

Inch on inch of gentle heart,
brimming, brimming, her rouge-stained tears:
the tower so tall–don’t go near, don’t lean on the high railing!
At the very end of the level plain–spring hills are there,
but the traveler’s even farther, beyond spring hills.

translated by Burton Watson

Tune: Song of Picking Mulberry by Ou-yang Hsiu

Ten years ago I was a visitor at the wine jar,
the moonlight white, the wind clear.
Then care and worry whittled me away,
time went by with astounding swiftness, and I grew old.

But though my hair has changed, my heart never changes.
Let me lift the golden flagon,
listen again to the old songs,
like drunken voices from those years long past.

translated by Burton Watson

from Recollections of West Lake: Lyric 6 by Ou-yang Hsiu

a whole life of saying, West Lake’s good.
now I come, in my official carriage
wealth and honor
. . . . . . . .floating clouds
look up, look down, the rushing years
twenty.

I come back, old white head, ancient crane
the people of the city and the suburbs
all strange, all new
who’d recognize the old coot, their master, on another day?

translated by Jerome P. Seaton

from Reflections of West Lake: Lyric 4 by Ou-yang Hsiu

flocks of blossoms gone, yet West Lake’s good.
shattered scattered residue of red
as willow down comes misting down
the willow hangs across the wind the whole day through

the pipe song wanders off, the traveler goes
and spring spring’s emptied to my heart
I let the thin gauze curtain fall
fine rain, a mated pair of swallows, coming home

translated by Jerome P. Seaton

from Recollections of West Lake: Lyric 3 by Ou-yang Hsiu

painted skiff with a load of wine, and West Lake’s good.
lively music from pipes and strings
wine cups quickly passed along
secure afloat on calming waves
slip off
to drunken stupor

the clouds float on beneath the moving boat
sky and the water, pure and fresh
look up, look down, stay, or go on
seems there’s another heaven
in this Lake

translated by Jerome P. Seaton