Rain during the Cold Food Festival by Su Tung-p’o

This is my third Cold Food Festival
since I was exiled to Huang-chou.

Each parting spring, each year, I grieve.
Nevertheless, each passes–no regret.

This year there’s pestilential rain,
the past two months dark as autumn.

I lie still, listening to cherry blossoms fall
into snow, pink and growing muddy.

Of what steals things in the dark,
the strangest arrives at midnight:

as though a young man went to bed
only to wake and find his hair turned white.

translated by Sam Hamill

for some reason a poem I identify with: A Hundred Days, Free to Go by Su Tung-p’o

A hundred days, free to go, and it’s almost spring;
for the years left, pleasure will be my chief concern.
Out the gate, I do a dance, wind blows my face;
our galloping horses race along as magpies cheer.
I face the wine cup and it’s all a dream,
pick up a poem brush, already inspired.
Why try to fix the blame for past trouble?
Years now I’ve stolen posts I never should have had.

translated by Burton Watson

***Written on his release from prison after 130 days and before leaving for a remote post which was essentially like exile again. 

Drank Tonight at Eastern Slope by Su Tung-p’o

Drank tonight at Eastern Slope, sobered up, drank again;
got home somewhere around third watch.
The houseboy snores like thunder;
I bang the gate but nobody answers.
Leaning on my stick, I listen to river sounds.

Always it irks me–this body not my own.
When can I forget the world’s business?
Night far gone, wind still, river creped in ripples:
I’ll leave here in a little boat,
on far waters spend the years remaining.

translated by Burton Watson

New Year’s Eve: Spending the Night Outside Ch’ang-chou City by Su Tung-p’o

From the traveler, singing; from the field, weeping—both spur sorrow.
Fires in the distance, dipping stars move slowly toward extinction.
Am I waiting up for New Year’s? Aching eyes won’t close.
No one here speaks my dialect: I long for home.
A double quilt and my feet still cold—the frost must be heavy;
my head feels light—I washed it and the hair is getting thin.
I thank the flickering torch that doesn’t refuse
to keep me company on a lonely boat through the night.

translated by Burton Watson