The Lute Player
Liu Changqing (709-785)
As water flows, your lute of seven strings . . .
I hear the wind between the winter pines.
You pull an ancient tune that, though I love,
The players now can hardly play the lines.
Seeing Off My Elder BrotherLu Zhaolin (634-684/686)
You’ll travel home through frontier mountain roads
To see the blooms and willows of Chang’än;
But now it’s time we part our hands goodbye,
To gaze in silent sorrow, and journey on.
In ancient times a troubled king did send,
Along this very spot, a hero bold—
And though those men have drowned in time’s lost flood,
These waters now are just as dark and cold.
Yú Yì Shuǐ Sòng Rén
Luò Bīn wáng
Cǐ dì bié yān dān
Zhuàng shì fà chōng guān
Midnight Song 2
Xiao Yan, Emperor Wu of Liang (464-549)
The morning sunshine strokes the window silk
As wind and light together play with strings;
She smiles with subtle ease and lifts her eyes
As when a butterfly brings up its wings.
Cold Meal Night
Cui Daorong (~895)
In Manchu land the pears now blossom white
As moonlight broken by the blowing wind.
Here all the people fast for Cold Meal Night;
I gaze at home alone—cast off and thin.
A Nightly Song
Shen Yue (441-513)
I leave the door ajar for you to come
But every night we part before it’s bright;
The moonlight shines across my pillowcase
To hide in bed between the lantern’s light.
Huangfu Ran (716-769)
I’d like for us to chase the tides beyond,
But time is up for us as fishing men;
Now face-to-face, aware we will not meet—
The end has come, we must begin again.
A Play for Cold Meal DayLu Yanrang (~ 900)
On Twelfth Street here it’s like a packed bazaar,
A world of dust that’s choked and cannot clear;
We work like ox until our sweat pours out,
No time to sit and watch the flowers near.
Hán Shí Rì Xì
CicadasYu Shinan (558-638)
He dangles down to drink the clear light dew,
Exuding sound through the green leaf brush;
And flowing far and wide, his voice flies on
Without the need of wind from autumn’s rush.
Bamboo RetreatWang Wei (692-761)
Alone I sit within the bamboo grove
And lift my lute to strum and hum along;
Within this depth of woods a man forgets —
The bright moon comes to mix its light with song.
Zhú Lǐ Guǎn