Fallen Flowers

This wind will weave
   The cry of howling thieves
As calming rain
   Unfolds on golden grain
A thousand sheaves
   A million fallen leaves
And still these plains
   Will fill with bamboo canes
Copyright (c) 2016 by Frank Watson. Loosely translated from Lu Shiheng’s “花落.”

Anchored at Jiande River

Meng Haoran
This anchored boat’s astir in fog and breeze,
As sunset rends my fears up once again,
But as the sky descends beneath the trees,
The river, moon, and quiet become my friends.


For the Reminiscing General

The General went fore, a prisoner of war,
Enchained at the enemy’s behest;
But now he’s back, the dust is slack,
With wine I greet my guest.
We sing in verse of skies and birds,
Forbidding a barrack word;
With spring before, we leave the war
And howls of night unheard.
But peaceful strolls leave generals no role:
The King alone we know;
To climb up high you weary your thighs,
But gaze at your sword and go.

Miscellaneous Verse

You who’ve come and seen my hometown hue
Would know the news from there, I must presume:
That day you left, outside the window view,
Had winter’s plums begun to wear their bloom?


Away in southern lands the red beans lay
As spring returns to send its blooms above;
Desiring you I pluck a big bouquet,
To hold a thing that marks our tender love.
Xiāng Sī
Hóng dòu shēng nán guó,
Chūn lái fā jī zhī。
Yuàn jūn duō cǎi xié,
Cǐ wù zuì xiāng sī。
Literal Character Translation

Farewell to a Dear Friend

Within the mountain midst, a farewell scene:
I shut my door, the sun begins to set.
In spring next year the grass will turn to green,
But if you’ll come back here, I know not yet.
Sòng Bié
Shān zhōng xiāng sòng bà,
Rì mù yǎn chái fēi。
Chūn cǎo nián nián lǜ,
Wáng sūn guī bù guī。
Literal Character Translation

For a Hearty Old Man

Eighty years old with nowhere to go,
Away and cold, you beg for clothes;
Again and again I pity your woes
As all is gone, but the wind still blows.
Original Chinese poem by Bai Juyi

Spring Worries

In spring I fear the summer’s heat,

But still it comes to kill the cool.
Another year, like a promise fleet,
With change, and tied up time, the cruel.
Disposed and weak, the blooms retreat,
And though I hope, I've been a fool:
For in this life I've sat on a lazy seat,
Awaiting a pill for spring's renewal.

Original Chinese poem by Yang Wanli


At the Xinzhou Water Pavilion

At the southern edge, around a turn,
The earth is filled by a sea of white;
The day has passed, but I haven’t returned
From this gardenia trance, both scent and sight.
Original Chinese poem by Zhang Hu

Sending Off My Cousin, Beyond the Castle by the Southern Moon

At home we fenced with traveling swords,
Cutting at this and that like idle lords;
The two of us, like towns around a turn,
Will drift apart as soon as I return.
Riding horses over the moon bridge south,
We follow the light to the road fork’s mouth;
Arriving at last at Shandong Mountain,
Memories flow like an endless fountain.
Blossoms scatter about this fragrant plot
As we drink until our sense is shot;
Drunk and happy, we rise with force,
But cannot climb back on the horse.


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