Mad Words by Yüan Mei

To learn to be without desire, you must desire that;
Better to do as you please: sing idleness:
Floating clouds and water running—where’s their source?
In all the vastness of the sea and sky, you’ll never find it.

translated by J.P. Seaton

Spring Day III by Yuan Mei

A hermit’s gate is made of the stuff of brooms,
but sweep as it may, the clouds won’t stay away.
So up through the clouds, for sun I came,
with wine, to this high tower.

At evening, the sun declined
to come on down the mountain with me.
“Tomorrow,” I ask,
“you coming, or not?”

translated by J.P. Seaton

Remembering by Yuan Mei

The years, their months
turn, grave and slow, their
fall and spring, again.

Mountain flowers, mountain leaves and
each time’s new.

Sometimes I sit alone
and smile upon the child I was,

in memory now distant
and a friend.

translated by J.P. Seaton