The snow clouds form a floating quill;
But though these woods are clear and bright,
Inside the town I feel it chill.
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.
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)
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.
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
Silent night, deserted town,
A cold pond and a warehouse wall.
The frontier cicadas already buzz,
And the tree leaves change for fall.
Your road will touch the distant sky,
But we'll sing until the morning call.
Unable to watch you leave us behind,
The plunging moon like a hook befalls.
Money’s freed you, fish, from knife-cut trials,
A story that’ll fill all fish and fowl with gratitude.
So, Bon Voyage! The Yangtze swells for countless miles,
Go swim at ease to peaceful latitudes.
As the sun dies down I lie in the lake pavilion,
Heart disturbed and drawn by various affairs;
Sleep ruined, I wake and drink, intoxicated,
Sitting and waiting in the cool night air.
Rain in the pines has sent my rattan hat afloat,
The river wind has pierced my hempen clothes:
Walking by willows, never tired of this path,
The sand is soft like cotton in falling snow.
Original Chinese poem by Bai Juyi
Hugging the path in early spring
We walk here hand in hand;
Though grass has yet to spring to life,
To me it’s fresh-laid land.
Nothing to do, pursuing the blooms,
The willows have taught my mind:
Again and again I come and go
To savor a cup of wine.
Original poem in Chinese by Shen Yue
The wind beats down this building cold,
Twisting amidst the morning mist
As I carry on with my bleak new post:
Though fog weighs down, a tree persists.
This tedious land, with nothing around,
I sit once more in silent reflection—
I go out for a while to wet my clothes
And look for you in a far-off direction.
Original Chinese poem by Wei Yingwu