Sending Off a Friend amid the Cries of Gibbons by Chiao Jan

You’ll go ten thousand miles
beyond those ancient mountains. . .
Three gibbons’ cries,
a chasm full of moonlight. . .
How long’s this road been here?
How many travelers
have wet their sleeves beside it?
A broken wall divides the drooping shadows.
Rushing rapids sing a bitter song.
In the cold, when we have finally parted,
it will be all the more wounding to hear.

translated by J.P. Seaton

Goodbyes by Chiao Jan

I’ve heard that even “men of feeling”
don’t treasure the feeling of parting.
Frosty sky drips a chill
on the cold city wall.
The long night spreads
like water overflowing.
There’s the sound of the watch-horn, too.
The zen man’s heart is empty, yes,
of all but these.

translated by J.P. Seaton

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

See a Friend Off to Wu by Tu Hsun-ho

I see you to Ku-su.
Homes there, sleeping by the stream.
Ancient palace, few abandoned spots.
And by the harbor, many little bridges.
In the night market, lotus, fruit and roots.
On the spring barges, satins and gauze.
Know, far off, the moon still watches.
Think of me there, in the fisherman’s song.

translated by J.P. Seaton

Parting at a Tavern of Chin-ling by Li Po

The wind blows the willow bloom and fills the whole tavern with fragrance
While the pretty girls of Wu bid us taste the new wine.
My good comrades of Chin-ling, hither you have come to see me off.
I, going, still tarry; and we drain our cups evermore.
Pray ask the river, which is the longer of the two–
Its east-flowing stream, or the thoughts of ours at parting!

translated by Shigeyoshi Obata