Postcard to Manhattan

I drifted south to follow the call of birds,
Then hunted around my former haunting grounds
Out west, where all was won with sand-swept words,
I think, once in the red-baked canyon towns.
In the wind somewhere I hear a whistling stone
And stop at the bar along the canyon end;
The moon is always high when drinking alone,
But it’s peaceful now while watching the river bend.

Yearning

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.
 
 
 
Chinese
 
相思
 
紅豆生南國,
春來發幾枝。
願君多采擷,
此物最相思。
 
 
Pronunciation
 
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
 

Bamboo Retreat

Alone, I sit serene within a bamboo grove,
At ease, I strum the lute and hum a song.
Unknown into the forest deep I’ll rove
Until the shining moon has sung along.
 
 
 
Chinese
 
竹里館
 
獨坐幽篁裡,
彈琴復長嘯。
深林人不知,
明月來相照。
 
 
Pronunciation
 
Zhú Lǐ Guǎn
 
Dú zuò yōu huáng lǐ,
Dàn qín fù cháng xiào。
Shēn lín rén bù zhī,
Míng yuè lái xiāng zhào。
 
 
Literal Character Translation
 

Deer Woods

Inside the empty hills I see no men,
The human words I hear are merely echoes.
Returning deep within the woods again,
The light reflects atop, where green moss grows.
 
 
 
Chinese
 
鹿柴
 
空山不見人,
但聞人語響。
返景入深林,
復照青苔上。

About a Guy

He swims a sea of dark red wine
To drink the hours, soft and sweet,
And wash away the jeweled vine
Alone, beside a narrow street.
 
In spring the birds shall flit about,
As nighttime feasts can last till dawn;
But then he’ll lift his head and shout,
A wolf astray that’s too far gone.

A Song While I Study

Happiness is yet to come—
From low I grasp the light
To embrace the empty sky,
But no moon or stars tonight.
 
 

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