Mountains cover the white sun,

Meng Haoran
A NIGHT-MOORING ON THE JIANDE RIVER
While my little boat moves on its mooring of mist,
And daylight wanes, old memories begin….
How wide the world was, how close the trees to heaven,
And how clear in the water the nearness of the moon!


Meng Haoran
A SPRING MORNING
I awake light-hearted this morning of spring,
Everywhere round me the singing of birds —
But now I remember the night, the storm,
And I wonder how many blossoms were broken.


Li Bai
IN THE QUIET NIGHT
So bright a gleam on the foot of my bed —
Could there have been a frost already?
Lifting myself to look, I found that it was moonlight.
Sinking back again, I thought suddenly of home.


Li Bai
A BITTER LOVE
How beautiful she looks, opening the pearly casement,
And how quiet she leans, and how troubled her brow is!
You may see the tears now, bright on her cheek,
But not the man she so bitterly loves.


Du Fu
THE EIGHT-SIDED FORTRESS
The Three Kingdoms, divided, have been bound by his greatness.
The Eight-Sided Fortress is founded on his fame;
Beside the changing river, it stands stony as his grief
That he never conquered the Kingdom of Wu.


Wang Zhihuan
AT HERON LODGE
Mountains cover the white sun,
And oceans drain the golden river;
But you widen your view three hundred miles
By going up one flight of stairs.


Liu Changqing
ON PARTING WITH THE BUDDHIST PILGRIM LING CHE
From the temple, deep in its tender bamboos,
Comes the low sound of an evening bell,
While the hat of a pilgrim carries the sunset
Farther and farther down the green mountain.


Liu Changqing
ON HEARING A LUTE-PLAYER
Your seven strings are like the voice
Of a cold wind in the pines,
Singing old beloved songs
Which no one cares for any more.

Has come and gone before I knew.

Has come and gone before I knew.

Bai Juyi
TO MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS ADRIFT
IN TROUBLED TIMES THIS POEM OF THE MOON
Since the disorders in Henan and the famine in Guannei, my brothers and sisters have been scattered. Looking at the moon, I express my thoughts in this poem, which I send to my eldest brother at Fuliang, my seventh brother at Yuqian, My fifteen brother at Wujiang and my younger brothers and sisters at Fuli and Xiagui.
My heritage lost through disorder and famine,
My brothers and sisters flung eastward and westward,
My fields and gardens wrecked by the war,
My own flesh and blood become scum of the street,
I moan to my shadow like a lone-wandering wildgoose,
I am torn from my root like a water-plant in autumn:
I gaze at the moon, and my tears run down
For hearts, in five places, all sick with one wish.


Li Shangyin
THE INLAID HARP
I wonder why my inlaid harp has fifty strings,
Each with its flower-like fret an interval of youth.
…The sage Chuangzi is day-dreaming, bewitched by butterflies,
The spring-heart of Emperor Wang is crying in a cuckoo,
Mermen weep their pearly tears down a moon-green sea,
Blue fields are breathing their jade to the sun….
And a moment that ought to have lasted for ever
Has come and gone before I knew.


Li Shangyin
TO ONE UNNAMED
The stars of last night and the wind of last night
Are west of the Painted Chamber and east of Cinnamon Hall.
…Though I have for my body no wings like those of the bright- coloured phoenix,
Yet I feel the harmonious heart-beat of the Sacred Unicorn.
Across the spring-wine, while it warms me, I prompt you how to bet
Where, group by group, we are throwing dice in the light of a crimson lamp;
Till the rolling of a drum, alas, calls me to my duties
And I mount my horse and ride away, like a water-plant cut adrift.


Li Shangyin
THE PALACE OF THE SUI EMPEROR
His Palace of Purple Spring has been taken by mist and cloud,
As he would have taken all Yangzhou to be his private domain
But for the seal of imperial jade being seized by the first Tang Emperor,
He would have bounded with his silken sails the limits of the world.
Fire-flies are gone now, have left the weathered grasses,
But still among the weeping-willows crows perch at twilight.
…If he meets, there underground, the Later Chen Emperor,
Do you think that they will mention a Song of Courtyard Flowers?


Li Shangyin
TO ONE UNNAMED I
You said you would come, but you did not, and you left me with no other trace
Than the moonlight on your tower at the fifth-watch bell.
I cry for you forever gone, I cannot waken yet,
I try to read your hurried note, I find the ink too pale.
…Blue burns your candle in its kingfisher-feather lantern
And a sweet breath steals from your hibiscus-broidered curtain.
But far beyond my reach is the Enchanted Mountain,
And you are on the other side, ten thousand peaks away.

How gladly I would seek a mountain

How gladly I would seek a mountain

Meng Haoran
FROM QIN COUNTRY TO THE BUDDHIST PRIEST YUAN
How gladly I would seek a mountain
If I had enough means to live as a recluse!
For I turn at last from serving the State
To the Eastern Woods Temple and to you, my master.
…Like ashes of gold in a cinnamon-flame,
My youthful desires have been burnt with the years-
And tonight in the chilling sunset-wind
A cicada, singing, weighs on my heart.


Meng Haoran
STOPPING AT A FRIEND’S FARM-HOUSE
Preparing me chicken and rice, old friend,
You entertain me at your farm.
We watch the green trees that circle your village
And the pale blue of outlying mountains.
We open your window over garden and field,
To talk mulberry and hemp with our cups in our hands.
…Wait till the Mountain Holiday —
I am coming again in chrysanthemum time.


Meng Haoran
FROM QIN COUNTRY TO THE BUDDHIST PRIEST YUAN
How gladly I would seek a mountain
If I had enough means to live as a recluse!
For I turn at last from serving the State
To the Eastern Woods Temple and to you, my master.
…Like ashes of gold in a cinnamon-flame,
My youthful desires have been burnt with the years-
And tonight in the chilling sunset-wind
A cicada, singing, weighs on my heart.


Meng Haoran
FROM A MOORING ON THE TONGLU
TO A FRIEND IN YANGZHOU
With monkeys whimpering on the shadowy mountain,
And the river rushing through the night,
And a wind in the leaves along both banks,
And the moon athwart my solitary sail,
I, a stranger in this inland district,
Homesick for my Yangzhou friends,
Send eastward two long streams of tears
To find the nearest touch of the sea.


Meng Haoran
TAKING LEAVE OF WANG WEI
Slow and reluctant, I have waited
Day after day, till now I must go.
How sweet the road-side flowers might be
If they did not mean good-bye, old friend.
The Lords of the Realm are harsh to us
And men of affairs are not our kind.
I will turn back home, I will say no more,
I will close the gate of my old garden.

The bones of great writers are your brushes, in the School of Heaven

Li Bai

PARTING AT A WINE-SHOP IN NANJING

A wind, bringing willow-cotton, sweetens the shop,

And a girl from Wu, pouring wine, urges me to share it

With my comrades of the city who are here to see me off;

And as each of them drains his cup, I say to him in parting,

Oh, go and ask this river running to the east

If it can travel farther than a friend’s love!


Li Bai

A FAREWELL TO SECRETARY SHUYUN

AT THE XIETIAO VILLA IN XUANZHOU

Since yesterday had to throw me and bolt,

Today has hurt my heart even more.

The autumn wildgeese have a long wind for escort

As I face them from this villa, drinking my wine.

The bones of great writers are your brushes, in the School of Heaven,

And I am a Lesser Xie growing up by your side.

We both are exalted to distant thought,

Aspiring to the sky and the bright moon.

But since water still flows, though we cut it with our swords,

And sorrows return, though we drown them with wine,

Since the world can in no way answer our craving,

I will loosen my hair tomorrow and take to a fishingboat.


Cen Can

A SONG OF RUNNING-HORSE RIVER IN FAREWELL

TO GENERAL FENG OF THE WESTERN EXPEDITION

Look how swift to the snowy sea races Running-Horse River! —

And sand, up from the desert, flies yellow into heaven.

This Ninth-month night is blowing cold at Wheel Tower,

And valleys, like peck measures, fill with the broken boulders

That downward, headlong, follow the wind.

…In spite of grey grasses, Tartar horses are plump;

West of the Hill of Gold, smoke and dust gather.

O General of the Chinese troops, start your campaign!

Keep your iron armour on all night long,

Send your soldiers forward with a clattering of weapons!

…While the sharp wind’s point cuts the face like a knife,

And snowy sweat steams on the horses’ backs,

Freezing a pattern of five-flower coins,

Your challenge from camp, from an inkstand of ice,

Has chilled the barbarian chieftain’s heart.

You will have no more need of an actual battle! —

We await the news of victory, here at the western pass!

 

But Yueh people talk about Heavenly Mother Mountain

 

Li Bai

TIANMU MOUNTAIN ASCENDED IN A DREAM

A seafaring visitor will talk about Japan,

Which waters and mists conceal beyond approach;

But Yueh people talk about Heavenly Mother Mountain,

Still seen through its varying deeps of cloud.

In a straight line to heaven, its summit enters heaven,

Tops the five Holy Peaks, and casts a shadow through China

With the hundred-mile length of the Heavenly Terrace Range,

Which, just at this point, begins turning southeast.

…My heart and my dreams are in Wu and Yueh

And they cross Mirror Lake all night in the moon.

And the moon lights my shadow

And me to Yan River —

With the hermitage of Xie still there

And the monkeys calling clearly over ripples of green water.

I wear his pegged boots

Up a ladder of blue cloud,

Sunny ocean half-way,

Holy cock-crow in space,

Myriad peaks and more valleys and nowhere a road.

Flowers lure me, rocks ease me. Day suddenly ends.

Bears, dragons, tempestuous on mountain and river,

Startle the forest and make the heights tremble.

Clouds darken with darkness of rain,

Streams pale with pallor of mist.

The Gods of Thunder and Lightning

Shatter the whole range.

The stone gate breaks asunder

Venting in the pit of heaven,

An impenetrable shadow.

…But now the sun and moon illumine a gold and silver terrace,

And, clad in rainbow garments, riding on the wind,

Come the queens of all the clouds, descending one by one,

With tigers for their lute-players and phoenixes for dancers.

Row upon row, like fields of hemp, range thefairy figures.

I move, my soul goes flying,

I wake with a long sigh,

My pillow and my matting

Are the lost clouds I was in.

…And this is the way it always is with human joy:

Ten thousand things run for ever like water toward the east.

And so I take my leave of you, not knowing for how long.

…But let me, on my green slope, raise a white deer

And ride to you, great mountain, when I have need of you.

Oh, how can I gravely bow and scrape to men of high rank and men of high office

Who never will suffer being shown an honest-hearted face!

bailuhu.net

I hear people at the fishing-town stumble aboard the ferry

 

Li Qi

ON HEARING AN WANSHAN PLAY THE REED-PIPE

Bamboo from the southern hills was used to make this pipe.

And its music, that was introduced from Persia first of all,

Has taken on new magic through later use in China.

And now the Tartar from Liangzhou, blowing it for me,

Drawing a sigh from whosoever hears it,

Is bringing to a wanderer’s eyes homesick tears….

Many like to listen; but few understand.

To and fro at will there’s a long wind flying,

Dry mulberry-trees, old cypresses, trembling in its chill.

There are nine baby phoenixes, outcrying one another;

A dragon and a tiger spring up at the same moment;

Then in a hundred waterfalls ten thousand songs of autumn

Are suddenly changing to The Yuyang Lament;

And when yellow clouds grow thin and the white sun darkens,

They are changing still again to Spring in the Willow Trees.

Like Imperial Garden flowers, brightening the eye with beauty,

Are the high-hall candles we have lighted this cold night,

And with every cup of wine goes another round of music.


Meng Haoran

RETURNING AT NIGHT TO LUMEN MOUNTAIN

 

A bell in the mountain-temple sounds the coming of night.

I hear people at the fishing-town stumble aboard the ferry,

While others follow the sand-bank to their homes along the river.

…I also take a boat and am bound for Lumen Mountain —

And soon the Lumen moonlight is piercing misty trees.

I have come, before I know it, upon an ancient hermitage,

The thatch door, the piney path, the solitude, the quiet,

Where a hermit lives and moves, never needing a companion.


Li Bai

A SONG OF LU MOUNTAIN TO CENSOR LU XUZHOU

I am the madman of the Chu country

Who sang a mad song disputing Confucius.

…Holding in my hand a staff of green jade,

I have crossed, since morning at the Yellow Crane Terrace,

All five Holy Mountains, without a thought of distance,

According to the one constant habit of my life.

Lu Mountain stands beside the Southern Dipper

In clouds reaching silken like a nine-panelled screen,

With its shadows in a crystal lake deepening the green water.

The Golden Gate opens into two mountain-ranges.

A silver stream is hanging down to three stone bridges

Within sight of the mighty Tripod Falls.

Ledges of cliff and winding trails lead to blue sky

And a flush of cloud in the morning sun,

Whence no flight of birds could be blown into Wu.

…I climb to the top. I survey the whole world.

I see the long river that runs beyond return,

Yellow clouds that winds have driven hundreds of miles

And a snow-peak whitely circled by the swirl of a ninefold stream.

And so I am singing a song of Lu Mountain,

A song that is born of the breath of Lu Mountain.

…Where the Stone Mirror makes the heart’s purity purer

And green moss has buried the footsteps of Xie,

I have eaten the immortal pellet and, rid of the world’s troubles,

Before the lute’s third playing have achieved my element.

Far away I watch the angels riding coloured clouds

Toward heaven’s Jade City, with hibiscus in their hands.

And so, when I have traversed the nine sections of the world,

I will follow Saint Luao up the Great Purit

Toward the moon that whitens the city-wall, black crows are flying

 

Li Qi

A LUTE SONG

Our host, providing abundant wine to make the night mellow,

Asks his guest from Yangzhou to play for us on the lute.

Toward the moon that whitens the city-wall, black crows are flying,

Frost is on ten thousand trees, and the wind blows through our clothes;

But a copper stove has added its light to that of flowery candles,

And the lute plays The Green Water, and then The Queen of Chu.

Once it has begun to play, there is no other sound:

A spell is on the banquet, while the stars grow thin….

But three hundred miles from here, in Huai, official duties await him,

And so it’s farewell, and the road again, under cloudy mountains.


Li Qi

ON HEARING DONG PLAY THE FLAGEOLET

A POEM TO PALACE-ATTENDANT FANG

When this melody for the flageolet was made by Lady Cai,

When long ago one by one she sang its eighteen stanzas,

Even the Tartars were shedding tears into the border grasses,

And the envoy of China was heart-broken, turning back home with his escort.

…Cold fires now of old battles are grey on ancient forts,

And the wilderness is shadowed with white new-flying snow.

…When the player first brushes the Shang string and the Jue and then the Yu,

Autumn-leaves in all four quarters are shaken with a murmur.

Dong, the master,

Must have been taught in heaven.

Demons come from the deep pine-wood and stealthily listen

To music slow, then quick, following his hand,

Now far away, now near again, according to his heart.

A hundred birds from an empty mountain scatter and return;

Three thousand miles of floating clouds darken and lighten;

A wildgoose fledgling, left behind, cries for its flock,

And a Tartar child for the mother he loves.

Then river waves are calmed

And birds are mute that were singing,

And Wuzu tribes are homesick for their distant land,

And out of the dust of Siberian steppes rises a plaintive sorrow.

…Suddenly the low sound leaps to a freer tune,

Like a long wind swaying a forest, a downpour brea king tiles,

A cascade through the air, flying over tree-tops.

…A wild deer calls to his fellows. He is running among the mansions

In the corner of the capital by the Eastern Palace wall….

Phoenix Lake lies opposite the Gate of Green Jade;

But how can fame and profit concern a man of genius?

Day and night I long for him to bring his lute again.

www.bailuhu.net

Why laugh when they fall asleep drunk on the sand

I find you alone under falling petals.

 

Wang Changling
IN HER QUIET WINDOW
Too young to have learned what sorrow means,
Attired for spring, she climbs to her high chamber….
The new green of the street-willows is wounding her heart —
Just for a title she sent him to war.


Wang Changling
A SONG OF THE SPRING PALACE
Last night, while a gust blew peach-petals open
And the moon shone high on the Palace Beyond Time,
The Emperor gave Pingyang, for her dancing,
Brocades against the cold spring-wind.


Wang Han
A SONG OF LIANGZHOU
They sing, they drain their cups of jade,
They strum on horseback their guitars.
…Why laugh when they fall asleep drunk on the sand ? —
How many soldiers ever come home?


Li Bai
A FAREWELL TO MENG HAORAN
ON HIS WAY TO YANGZHOU
You have left me behind, old friend, at the Yellow Crane Terrace,
On your way to visit Yangzhou in the misty month of flowers;
Your sail, a single shadow, becomes one with the blue sky,
Till now I see only the river, on its way to heaven.


Li Bai
THROUGH THE YANGZI GORGES
From the walls of Baidi high in the coloured dawn
To Jiangling by night-fall is three hundred miles,
Yet monkeys are still calling on both banks behind me
To my boat these ten thousand mountains away.


Cen Can
ON MEETING A MESSENGER TO THE CAPITAL
It’s a long way home, a long way east.
I am old and my sleeve is wet with tears.
We meet on horseback. I have no means of writing.
Tell them three words: “He is safe.”


Du Fu
ON MEETING LI GUINIAN DOWN THE RIVER
I met you often when you were visiting princes
And when you were playing in noblemen’s halls.
…Spring passes…. Far down the river now,
I find you alone under falling petals.


Wei Yingwu
AT CHUZHOU ON THE WESTERN STREAM
Where tender grasses rim the stream
And deep boughs trill with mango-birds,
On the spring flood of last night’s rain
The ferry-boat moves as though someone were poling.


Zhang Ji
A NIGHT-MOORING NEAR MAPLE BRIDGE
While I watch the moon go down, a crow caws through the frost;
Under the shadows of maple-trees a fisherman moves with his torch;
And I hear, from beyond Suzhou, from the temple on Cold Mountain,
Ringing for me, here in my boat, the midnight bell.


www.jiaoan8.co

The thread in the hands of a fond-hearted mother

 

Meng Jiao

A SONG OF A PURE-HEARTED GIRL

Lakka-trees ripen two by two

And mandarin-ducks die side by side.

If a true-hearted girl will love only her husband,

In a life as faithfully lived as theirs,

What troubling wave can arrive to vex

A spirit like water in a timeless well?


Meng Jiao

A TRAVELLER’S SONG

The thread in the hands of a fond-hearted mother

Makes clothes for the body of her wayward boy;

Carefully she sews and thoroughly she mends,

Dreading the delays that will keep him late from home.

But how much love has the inch-long grass

For three spring months of the light of the sun?


Chen Ziang

ON A GATE-TOWER AT YUZHOU

Where, before me, are the ages that have gone?

And where, behind me, are the coming generations?

I think of heaven and earth, without limit, without end,

And I am all alone and my tears fall down.


Li Qi

AN OLD AIR

 

There once was a man, sent on military missions,

A wanderer, from youth, on the You and Yan frontiers.

Under the horses’ hoofs he would meet his foes

And, recklessly risking his seven-foot body,

Would slay whoever dared confront

Those moustaches that bristled like porcupinequills.

…There were dark clouds below

the hills, there were white clouds above them,

But before a man has served full time, how can he go back?

In eastern Liao a girl was waiting, a girl of fifteen years,

Deft with a guitar, expert in dance and song.

…She seems to be fluting, even now, a reed-song of home,

Filling every soldier’s eyes with homesick tears.


Li Qi

A FAREWELL TO MY FRIEND CHEN ZHANGFU

 

In the Fourth-month the south wind blows plains of yellow barley,

Date-flowers have not faded yet and lakka-leaves are long.

The green peak that we left at dawn we still can see at evening,

While our horses whinny on the road, eager to turn homeward.

…Chen, my friend, you have always been a great and good man,

With your dragon’s moustache, tiger’s eyebrows and your massive forehead.

In your bosom you have shelved away ten thousand volumes.

You have held your head high, never bowed it in the dust.

…After buying us wine and pledging us, here at the eastern gate,

And taking things as lightly as a wildgoose feather,

Flat you lie, tipsy, forgetting the white sun;

But now and then you open your eyes and gaze at a high lone cloud.

…The tide-head of the lone river joins the darkening sky.

The ferryman beaches his boat. It has grown too late to sail.

And people on their way from Cheng cannot go home,

And people from Loyang sigh with disappointment.

…I have heard about the many friends around your wood land dwelling.

Yesterday you were dismissed. Are they your friends today?

www.hnytpm.com

Across the green boughs stretches out her white hand

 

Li Bai

BALLADS OF FOUR SEASONS: SPRING

The lovely Lo Fo of the western land

Plucks mulberry leaves by the waterside.

Across the green boughs stretches out her white hand;

In golden sunshine her rosy robe is dyed.

“my silkworms are hungry, I cannot stay.

Tarry not with your five-horse cab, I pray.”


Li Bai

BALLADS OF FOUR SEASONS: SUMMER

On Mirror Lake outspread for miles and miles,

The lotus lilies in full blossom teem.

In fifth moon Xi Shi gathers them with smiles,

Watchers o’erwhelm the bank of Yuoye Stream.

Her boat turns back without waiting moonrise

To yoyal house amid amorous sighs.


Li Bai

A SONG OF AN AUTUMN MIDNIGHT

A slip of the moon hangs over the capital;

Ten thousand washing-mallets are pounding;

And the autumn wind is blowing my heart

For ever and ever toward the Jade Pass….

Oh, when will the Tartar troops be conquered,

And my husband come back from the long campaign!


Li Bai

BALLADS OF FOUR SEASONS: WINTER

The courier will depart next day, she’s told.

She sews a warrior’s gown all night.

Her fingers feel the needle cold.

How can she hold the scissors tight?

The work is done, she sends it far away.

When will it reach the town where warriors stay?


Li Bai

A SONG OF CHANGGAN

 

My hair had hardly covered my forehead.

I was picking flowers, paying by my door,

When you, my lover, on a bamboo horse,

Came trotting in circles and throwing green plums.

We lived near together on a lane in Ch’ang-kan,

Both of us young and happy-hearted.

…At fourteen I became your wife,

So bashful that I dared not smile,

And I lowered my head toward a dark corner

And would not turn to your thousand calls;

But at fifteen I straightened my brows and laughed,

Learning that no dust could ever seal our love,

That even unto death I would await you by my post

And would never lose heart in the tower of silent watching.

…Then when I was sixteen, you left on a long journey

Through the Gorges of Ch’u-t’ang, of rock and whirling water.

And then came the Fifth-month, more than I could bear,

And I tried to hear the monkeys in your lofty far-off sky.

Your footprints by our door, where I had watched you go,

Were hidden, every one of them, under green moss,

Hidden under moss too deep to sweep away.

And the first autumn wind added fallen leaves.

And now, in the Eighth-month, yellowing butterflies

Hover, two by two, in our west-garden grasses

And, because of all this, my heart is breaking

And I fear for my bright cheeks, lest they fade.

…Oh, at last, when you return through the three Pa districts,

Send me a message home ahead!

And I will come and meet you and will never mind the distance,

All the way to Chang-feng Sha.