They Say You’re Staying in a Mountain Temple by Tu Fu: written for his younger brother who he has not seen for over three years

They say you’re staying in a mountain temple,
In Hang-chou–or is it Yüeh-chou?
In the wind and grime of war, how long since we parted!
At Chiang-han, bright autumns waste away.
While my shadow rests by monkey-loud trees,
my soul whirls off to where shell-born towers rise.
Next year on floods of spring I’ll go downriver,
to the white clouds at the end of the east I’ll look for you!

translated by Burton Watson


Poetry by Cai Qijiao

It is the tide, an everlasting cry,
Or a star, the never-ending silence.
Whether shouted or voiceless,
Neither is for human beings to choose.

How easy to not write poetry for truth.
Lies come along to cover emptiness.
The shining flower petals of glory
Are not the same thing as the truth.

To search the heart is poetry’s lifeblood.
Perhaps it was found but it’s been lost again.
The blue smoke and grey ash–
Both are brothers of that fire.

translated by Fang Dai, Dennis Ding, & Edward Morin