Year: 
2019

Farewell to a Lofty Monk

 
Liu Changqing (709-785)
 
 
A lofty cloud has met a common crane,
But how to live together in this land?
Don’t stay out here, though filled with fertile hills,
So many know this place, like grains of sand.
 
 
Chinese
 
送上人
劉長卿
 
孤雲將野鶴
豈向人間住
莫買沃洲山
時人已知處
Pronunciation
 
Sòng Shàng Rén
Liú Chángqīng
 
Gū yún jiāng yě hè
Qǐ xiàng rén jiān zhù
Mò mǎi wò zhōu shān
Shí rén yǐ zhī chǔ
 
 
Transliteration and Notes
 
Send-Off Higher Person
 
Lone cloud together-with field crane
How toward human interval dwell?
Don’t buy Fertile Island Mountain
Era’s people already know place
 
     “Lone cloud” here symbolizes the wandering monk and contrasts with the common field crane, representing the poet. “Human interval” means the human world. “Fertile Island Mountain” is Wozhou Mountain, located in Zhejiang Province, a famous location during the Jin Dynasty used to breed cranes and horses and thought by Daoists to be a blessed land. “Era’s people” refers to people of the time.
     This poem contrasts the lofty monk with the vulgar world below, symbolized by the field crane. The last two lines are a lighthearted way of saying that the monk shouldn’t stay in Wuzhou Mountain because everyone knows the place and therefore it’s vulgar; instead, he should stay above it all and wander as a cloud.
Author of original: 
Liu Changqing
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