Shijing or Shi-Jing translations from the Chinese

The Shijing or Shi-Jing or Shih-Ching (“Book of Songs” or “Book of Odes”) is the oldest Chinese poetry collection, with the poems included believed to date from around 1200 BC to 600 BC. According to tradition the poems were selected and edited by Confucius himself. Since most ancient poetry did not rhyme, these may be the world’s oldest extant rhyming poems.

Shijing Ode #4: “JIU MU”
ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The LEVELER

These are poems about time, mortality, death, decay and loss ...

The Leveler
by Michael R. Burch

The nature of Nature
is bitter survival
from Winter’s bleak fury
till Spring’s brief revival.

The weak implore Fate;
bold men ravish, dishevel her ...
till both are cut down
by mere ticks of the Leveler.

Published by The Lyric, The Aurorean, Tucumcari Literary Review, Romantics Quarterly and in a YouTube video by Asma Masooma

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Takaha Shugyo haiku translations

These are my modern English translations of haiku and tanka by Takaha Shugyo.

Oh, fallen camellias,
if I were you,
I'd leap into the torrent!
—Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Wild geese pass
leaving the emptiness of heaven
revealed ...
—Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Inside the cracked shell
of a walnut:
one empty room.
—Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Animal Poems

These are poems about animals such as ants, canaries, ducks, dromedaries, elephants, hippos, mockingbirds, pelicans and ravens.

The Hippopotami
by Michael R. Burch

There’s no seeing eye to eye
with the awesomely huge Hippopotami:
on the bank, you’re much taller;
going under, you’re smaller
and assuredly destined to die!

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Honeymoon Not-So-Sweet, or, Clyde Lied!
by Michael R. Burch

THE VISIONS OF GRACE - ALEXIS KARPOUZOS

i’m looking for the face i had before the world was made
I was the primordial flaring forth, the gravitational waves,
the whirling galaxies, and the exploding supernovas that would become stars and planets.
I was the steaming planet Earth, the bacteria awash in the sea, and the early eukaryotes and multicellular animals.
I exploded in the Cambrian explosion, stumbled onto land, walked with dinosaurs,
saw trees and flowers appear, walked upright in Africa, and walked on the moon.

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