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.
Crossing the Yangtze RiverDu 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.
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
The friends we had, the friends we left
Along the siren streets
A signal past, a thousand thefts
In red light, white light beats
Oh, where can I rest in this hidden town
As wind comes whistling through
In light and dark, as it rains down,
A dancer flails there too
Somewhere she dwells, the chastised nun,
A remnant work of whim
Perhaps it’s one or maybe none
She waits and waits for him
The courtyard halls where beauty haunts
In bellows of burial bells
At night it sleeps its lot of want
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