Deer WoodsWang Wei (692-761)
Deserted woods — and no one here to see,
Yet still out there I hear the words of spite;
Returning deep within the woods, a scene:
A patch of green shade moss reflects the light.
Kōng shān bù jiàn rén
Dàn wén rén yǔ xiǎng
Fǎn jǐng rù shēn lín
Fù zhào qīng tái shàng
Transliteration and Notes
Deserted mountain no see people
But hear men speak sound
Return scene enter deep woods
Return shine green moss above
Wang Wei was one of the greatest poets in of the Tang Dynasty, with 29 of his poems making it into the 300Tang Poems anthology. He was also a musician, painter, and successful court official. About 400 of his poems survive in total, though none of his paintings or music do. Nonetheless, there are indications that his art influenced the works of other painters. Wang was born into a wealthy Han Chinese family and was close to other famous poets of the time, including Zhang Jiuling, Meng Haoran, and Pei Di.
As a poet, Wang was most known for his beautiful works about nature. This sensibility was apparently deeply ingrained, as he became a devout Zen Buddhist and vegetarian, spending his final ten years studying under master Daoguang.