Meng Jiao A SONG OF A PURE-HEARTED GIRL Lakka-trees ripen two by two And mandarin-ducks die side by side. If a true-hearted girl will love only her husband, In a life as faithfully lived as theirs, What troubling wave can arrive to vex A spirit like water in a timeless well? Meng Jiao A TRAVELLER’S SONG The thread in the hands of a fond-hearted mother Makes clothes for the body of her wayward boy; Carefully she sews and thoroughly she mends, Dreading the delays that will keep him late from home. But how much love has the inch-long grass For three spring months ofRead More →

  Li Bai BALLADS OF FOUR SEASONS: SPRING The lovely Lo Fo of the western land Plucks mulberry leaves by the waterside. Across the green boughs stretches out her white hand; In golden sunshine her rosy robe is dyed. “my silkworms are hungry, I cannot stay. Tarry not with your five-horse cab, I pray.” Li Bai BALLADS OF FOUR SEASONS: SUMMER On Mirror Lake outspread for miles and miles, The lotus lilies in full blossom teem. In fifth moon Xi Shi gathers them with smiles, Watchers o’erwhelm the bank of Yuoye Stream. Her boat turns back without waiting moonrise To yoyal house amid amorous sighs.Read More →

Dare ford the river boundary.   Li Shangyin THE LEYOU TOMBS With twilight shadows in my heart I have driven up among the Leyou Tombs To see the sun, for all his glory, Buried by the coming night. Jia Dao A NOTE LEFT FOR AN ABSENT ECLUSE When I questioned your pupil, under a pine-tree, My teacher, he answered, ” went for herbs, But toward which corner of the mountain, How can I tell, through all these clouds ?” Li Pin CROSSING THE HAN RIVER Away from home, I was longing for news Winter after winter, spring after spring. Now, nearing my village, meeting people,Read More →

I decide that not my mother-in-law   Liu Changqing FAREWELL TO A BUDDHIST MONK Can drifting clouds and white storks Be tenants in this world of ours? — Or you still live on Wuzhou Mountain, Now that people are coming here? Wei Yingwu AN AUTUMN NIGHT MESSAGE TO QIU As I walk in the cool of the autumn night, Thinking of you, singing my poem, I hear a mountain pine-cone fall…. You also seem to be awake. Li Duan ON HEARING HER PLAY THE HARP Her hands of white jade by a window of snow Are glimmering on a golden-fretted harp — And to drawRead More →

  Meng Haoran A NIGHT-MOORING ON THE JIANDE RIVER While my little boat moves on its mooring of mist, And daylight wanes, old memories begin…. How wide the world was, how close the trees to heaven, And how clear in the water the nearness of the moon! Meng Haoran A SPRING MORNING I awake light-hearted this morning of spring, Everywhere round me the singing of birds — But now I remember the night, the storm, And I wonder how many blossoms were broken. Li Bai IN THE QUIET NIGHT So bright a gleam on the foot of my bed — Could there have been aRead More →

Yet how it serves to ease my heart!   Li Shangyin TO ONE UNNAMED IV A faint phoenix-tail gauze, fragrant and doubled, Lines your green canopy, closed for the night…. Will your shy face peer round a moon-shaped fan, And your voice be heard hushing the rattle of my carriage? It is quiet and quiet where your gold lamp dies, How far can a pomegranate-blossom whisper? …I will tether my horse to a river willow And wait for the will of the southwest wind. Li Shangyin TO ONE UNNAMED V There are many curtains in your care-free house, Where rapture lasts the whole night long.Read More →

And of even this bright flame of love,   Li Shangyin TO ONE UNNAMED II A misty rain comes blowing with a wind from the east, And wheels faintly thunder beyond Hibiscus Pool. …Round the golden-toad lock, incense is creeping; The jade tiger tells, on its cord, of water being drawn A great lady once, from behind a screen, favoured a poor youth; A fairy queen brought a bridal mat once for the ease of a prince and then vanished. …Must human hearts blossom in spring, like all other flowers? And of even this bright flame of love, shall there be only ashes? Li ShangyinRead More →

Has come and gone before I knew.   Bai Juyi TO MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS ADRIFT IN TROUBLED TIMES THIS POEM OF THE MOON Since the disorders in Henan and the famine in Guannei, my brothers and sisters have been scattered. Looking at the moon, I express my thoughts in this poem, which I send to my eldest brother at Fuliang, my seventh brother at Yuqian, My fifteen brother at Wujiang and my younger brothers and sisters at Fuli and Xiagui. My heritage lost through disorder and famine, My brothers and sisters flung eastward and westward, My fields and gardens wrecked by the war, MyRead More →

I sit here alone, mourning for us both. Liu Zongyuan FROM THE CITY-TOWER OF LIUZHOU TO MY FOUR FELLOW-OFFICIALS AT ZHANG, DING, FENG, AND LIAN DISTRICTS At this lofty tower where the town ends, wilderness begins; And our longing has as far to go as the ocean or the sky…. Hibiscus-flowers by the moat heave in a sudden wind, And vines along the wall are whipped with slanting rain. Nothing to see for three hundred miles but a blur of woods and mountain — And the river’s nine loops, twisting in our bowels…. This is where they have sent us, this land of tattooed peopleRead More →

Spring only brings me grief and fatigue   Wei Yingwu TO MY FRIENDS LI DAN AND YUANXI We met last among flowers, among flowers we parted, And here, a year later, there are flowers again; But, with ways of the world too strange to foretell, Spring only brings me grief and fatigue. I am sick, and I think of my home in the country- Ashamed to take pay while so many are idle. …In my western tower, because of your promise, I have watched the full moons come and go. Han Hong INSCRIBED IN THE TEMPLE OF THE WANDERING GENIE I face, high over thisRead More →