Untitled Poem by Li Shang-yin

It’s so hard to be together, and so hard to part: a tender
east wind is powerless: the hundred blossoms crumble:

the heart-thread doesn’t end until the silkworm’s dead,
and tears don’t dry until the candle’s burnt into ash:

she grieves, seeing white hair in her morning mirror,
and chanting at night, she feels the chill of moonlight:

exquisite Paradise Mountain—it isn’t so very far away,
and that azure bird can show us the way back anytime.

translated by David Hinton

Drinking Alone in a Small Garden by Li Shang-yin

Who could have knit the willow’s belts?
The flower buds are unwilling to open yet.
Only a pair of dancing butterflies are left;
Not a single person has come here.
I half unfold the dragon-whisker mat,
And lightly pour into the horse-brain cup.
Every year the arrival of spring is uncertain;
I have been deceived by the early blooming plum!

translated by James J.Y. Liu

Goodbye At The River by Li Po

In this little river town
the autumn rain lets up
the wine’s all gone
well then, goodbye!

you stretch out in your boat
the sail fills, you skim home
past islands burning with flowers
banks crowded with willows

what about me? I don’t know
I think I’ll go sit
on that big rock
and fish

translated by David Young

Stopping at Beign Mountain by Wang Wan

Man on a road through green mountains.
A boat sails the green waters.

The banks grow when the tide stills.
One sail taut in the wind.

The ocean sun emerges from broken night.
Spring flows in rivers as the year ages.

How can my letter find its way home
to Luoyang where the geese fly?

translated by Tony Barnstone & Chou Ping