Crossing the Yangtze River

Crossing the Yangtze River

Du Shenyan (645-708)
 
 
Late afternoon, this garden grove, where ancient sorrow roams;
It’s spring, but birds and blossoms too do fill the edge with dread.
Alone, expelled, down south in savage lands, my homeland far—
The Yangtze River water flow shows not its northern tread.
 
 
Chinese
 
渡湘江
杜審言
 
遲日園林悲昔遊
今春花鳥作邊愁
獨憐京國人南竄

Deer Woods

Inside the empty hills I see no men,
The human words I hear are merely echoes.
Returning deep within the woods again,
The light reflects atop, where green moss grows.
 
 
 
Chinese
 
鹿柴
 
空山不見人,
但聞人語響。
返景入深林,
復照青苔上。

 
Pronunciation
 
Lù Chái
 
Kōng shān bù jiàn rén,
Dàn wén rén yǔ xiǎng。
Fǎn jǐng rù shēn lín,
Fù zhào qīng tái shàng。
 
 
Literal Character Translation
 

Two Songs Rewritten For The Tune's Sake

I
My Paistin Finn is my sole desire,
And I am shrunken to skin and bone,
For all my heart has had for its hire
Is what I can whistle alone and alone.
Oro, oro.!
Tomorrow night I will break down the door.
What is the good of a man and he
Alone and alone, with a speckled shin?
I would that I drank with my love on my knee
Between two barrels at the inn.
Oro, oro.!

To-morrow night I will break down the door.
Alone and alone nine nights I lay
Between two bushes under the rain;

Two Songs of a Fool

I

A speckled cat and a tame hare
Eat at my hearthstone
And seep there;
And both look up to me alone
For learning and defence
As I look up to Providence.

I start out of my sleep to think
Some day I may forget
Their food and drink;
Or, the house door left unshut,
The hare may run till it's found
The horn's sweet note and the tooth of the hound.

I bear a burden that might well try
Men that do all by rule,
And what can I
That am a wandering-witted fool

Two Nights

(Suggested by the lives of Napoleon and Josephine.)

I.

ONE night was full of rapture and delight-
Of reunited arms and swooning kisses,
And all the unnamed and unnumbered blisses
Which fond souls find in love of love at night.

Heart beat with heart, and each clung into each
With twining arms that did but loose their hold
To cling still closer; and fond glances told
These truths for which there is no uttered speech.

There was sweet laughter and endearing words,

Tommy's Dead

You may give over plough, boys,
You may take the gear to the stead,
All the sweat o' your brow, boys,
Will never get beer and bread.
The seed's waste, I know, boys,
There's not a blade will grow, boys,
'Tis cropped out, I trow, boys,
And Tommy's dead.

Send the colt to fair, boys,
He's going blind, as I said,
My old eyes can't bear, boys,
To see him in the shed;
The cow's dry and spare, boys,
She's neither here nor there, boys,
I doubt she's badly bread;
Stop the mill to-morn, boys,

Tomes

There is a section in my library for death
and another for Irish history,
a few shelves for the poetry of China and Japan,
and in the center a row of imperturbable reference books,
the ones you can turn to anytime,
when the night is going wrong
or when the day is full of empty promise.

I have nothing against
the thin monograph, the odd query,
a note on the identity of Chekhov's dentist,
but what I prefer on days like these
is to get up from the couch,
pull down The History of the World,

Tomes

There is a section in my library for death
and another for Irish history,
a few shelves for the poetry of China and Japan,
and in the center a row of imperturbable reference books,
the ones you can turn to anytime,
when the night is going wrong
or when the day is full of empty promise.

I have nothing against
the thin monograph, the odd query,
a note on the identity of Chekhov's dentist,
but what I prefer on days like these
is to get up from the couch,
pull down The History of the World,

Tz'u No. 1

To the tune "Courtyard Filled with Fragrance"

Fragrant grass beside the pond
green shade over the hall
a clear cold comes through
the window curtains
crescent moon beyond the golden bars
and a flute sounds
as if someone were coming
but alone on my mat with a cup
gazing sadly into nothingness
I want to call back
the blackberry flowers
that have fallen
though pear blossoms remain
for in that distant year
I came to love their fresh fragrance
scenting my sleeve

Two Sonnets In Memory

(Nicola Sacco -- Bartolomeo Vanzetti)
Executed August 23, 1927


I

As men have loved their lovers in times past
And sung their wit, their virtue and their grace,
So have we loved sweet Justice to the last,
That now lies here in an unseemly place.
The child will quit the cradle and grow wise
And stare on beauty till his senses drown;
Yet shall be seen no more by mortal eyes
Such beauty as here walked and here went down.
Like birds that hear the winter crying plain

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