from Wandering at Hsieh Creek by T’ao Ch’ien

This new year makes it fifty suddenly
gone. Thinking of life’s steady return

to rest cuts deep, driving me to spend
all morning wandering. And now, air

fresh and sky clear, I sit with friends
beside a stream flowing far away. Here,

striped bream weave the gentle current,
and calling, gulls rise over the lazy

valley. Eyes wandering distant waters,
straining, I make out Tseng Hill: it’s

meager compared to K’un-lun’s majestic
peaks, but nothing in sight rivals it.

Taking the winejar, I pour out a round,
and we start offering brimful toasts.

Who knows where today leads, or whether
things will ever be like this again?

After a few cups, my heart’s far away,
and I’ve forgotten thousand-year sorrows:

ranging to the limit of this morning’s
joy, it isn’t tomorrow I’m looking for.

translated by David Hinton

Seeing Guests Off at Governor Wang’s by T’ao Ch’ien

Autumn days bitter cold, the hundred plants
already in ruins–now footsteps-in-frost

season has come, we climb this tower to
offer those returning home our farewell.

In cold air shrouding mountains and lakes,
forever rootless, clouds drift. And all

those islands carry our thoughts far away,
across threatening wind and water. Here,

we watch night fall, delighting in fine food,
our lone sorrow this talk of separation.

Morning birds return for the night. A looming
sun bundles its last light away. Our roads

part here: you vanish, we remain. Sad,
we linger and look back–eyes seeing off

your boat grown distant, hearts settled in
whatever comes of the ten thousand changes.

translated by David Hinton