Wandering to a New TownLi Shunxian (~ 910)
Life’s carriage takes me quick to heaven’s light,
But here I pause to part this world of dust;
Alone, afraid, pursuing dreams of flight,
Yet here I’m old with dread, and leave I must.
I fling my hat on a rockspur,
Hurling after it
The rest of my clothes.
Stretched at ease on soft grass,
Lazily I flick a white-feather fan
As a pine-breeze plays
In my loose, unknotted hair.
Translated by Stanton Hager
My dear old friend who’s parting West
Beneath the Yellow Towers;
While falling on the Yangzhou lands
Are mists and springtime flowers.
Your orphan boat’s a distant shade,
That sails where blue skies go;
I look upon the water tides—
Until the end they flow.
By Li Bai, tr. from the Chinese by Frank Watson
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.”
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.
The snow clouds form a floating quill;
But though these woods are clear and bright,
Inside the town I feel it chill.
229. Farewell to Cui
Traversing mountains thin and deep
And on through hills and dales revered;
For just a day you’ll be a man
Of Eden, land of love and cheer.
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.
Red as a peach with a smile on her face,
Face with a smile as a peach in her place.
Willow that hangs and shakes its drapery low,
Low is the willow that hangs as the wind does flow.
Wavers the blossom as wind and hair entwine,
Entwines the hair with wind, this blossom of mine.
Roams the road as the moon sinks west,
West sinks the moon where the road roams best.
After “Reckless Spirit” (Barbarian Bodhisattva) by Liu Dao (1511-1598)