Autumn Night, A Note
Wei Yingwu (~737 – 792)
By chance I think of you this autumn night
Between my steps and song, and cooling skies:
Within your quiet hills a pine cone falls,
For you as well must not have closed your eyes.
Qiū Yè Jì Qiū Yuán Wài
I shut my door, the sun begins to set.
In spring next year the grass will turn to green,
But if you’ll come back here, I know not yet.
Shān zhōng xiāng sòng bà，
Rì mù yǎn chái fēi。
Chūn cǎo nián nián lǜ，
Wáng sūn guī bù guī。
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.
At home we fenced with traveling swords,
Cutting at this and that like idle lords;
The two of us, like towns around a turn,
Will drift apart as soon as I return.
Riding horses over the moon bridge south,
We follow the light to the road fork’s mouth;
Arriving at last at Shandong Mountain,
Memories flow like an endless fountain.
Blossoms scatter about this fragrant plot
As we drink until our sense is shot;
Drunk and happy, we rise with force,
But cannot climb back on the horse.
Fate is a sword that swings by chance—
I wonder where my brothers have gone.
Wiping these tears that wet my sleeves,
I comb my hair like a silken lawn.
The earth is vulgar, vast, and wild,
But Heaven is far, like the distant dawn.
For who is spared from sickness in time?
I cannot see you though life slips on.
Original Chinese Poem