Bright Moon, When Did You Appear? by Su Tung-p’o

Bright moon, when did you appear?
Lifting my wine, I question the blue sky.
Tonight in the palaces and halls of heaven
what year is it, I wonder?
I would like to ride the wind, make my home there,
only I fear porphyry towers, under jade eaves,
in those high places the cold wind would be more than I could bear.
So I rise and dance and play in your pure beams,
though this human world–how can it vie with yours?

Circling red chambers,
low in the curtained door,
you light our sleeplessness.
Surely you bear us no ill will–
why then must you be so round at times when we humans are parted!
People have their griefs and joys, their togetherness and separation,
the moon its dark and clear times, its roundings and wanings.
I only hope we two may have long long lives,
may share the moon’s beauty, though a thousand miles apart.

translated by Burton Watson

In the Mountains, Asking the Moon by Po Chü-i

It’s the same Ch’ang-an moon when I ask
which doctrine remains with us always.

It flew with me when I fled those streets,
and now shines clear in these mountains,

carrying me through autumn desolations,
waiting as I sleep away long slow nights.

If I return to my old homeland one day,
it will welcome me like family. And here,

it’s a friend for strolling beneath pines
or sitting together on canyon ridgetops.

A thousand cliffs, ten thousand canyons–
it’s with me everywhere, abiding always.

translated by David Hinton