On the Lake, x2

Two short poems by Bai Juyi (772-846), a Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty. Both poems are titled On the Lake, 池上, Chí Shàng. The first poem is about the nearly imperceptible nature of a Buddhist monk. The second about a mischievous child trying to hide his crime. One Mountain monks playing chessHidden in some…

When a flower is not a flower

Flowers are not flowers, fog is not fogWhen they come at night and leave at first light.This Dream, this Spring, that often comes to meAnd, as the clouds, leaves not a trace. When flowers are not flowers, Bai Juyi 花 非 花,雾 非 雾夜 半 来,天 明 去来 知 春 梦 几 多 时去 似…

The Summer Heat

绿树蔭濃夏日長 楼台倒影入池塘 水晶帘动微風起 满架蔷薇一院香 山亭夏日, 高骈 In summer, green trees give shade day longAnd the pavilion is mirrored on the pondAs a gentle breeze ripples on the water The scent of roses is everywhere Summer Day at a Mountain Pavilion, Gao Pian, 821-887 Lǜshù yīn nóng xià rì zhǎng, lóutái dàoyǐng rù chítáng, shuǐjīng lián…

Send Meng this Gift

Mysterious moon in the sky. Some nights, so close, it seems, one can touch it. And even when it is far, far away, good friends can always share it. 赠孟浩然 吾爱孟夫子, 风流天下闻红颜弃轩冕, 白首卧松云醉月频中圣, 迷花不事君高山安可仰, 徒此挹清芬 赠孟浩然, 李 白 A Gift to Meng HaoranMaster Meng, my love. Beloved the world over.Your rosy cheeks replace your courtly crownYour…

Poor Girl

A poor girl sews golden threads into silk gowns for other girls. But she bitterly hates that her diligence and hard-work do not pay off for her. 貧女蓬門未識綺羅香,擬託良媒益自傷誰愛風流高格調,共憐時世儉梳妝敢將十指誇針巧,不把雙眉鬥畫長苦恨年年壓金線,為他人作嫁衣裳 秦 韜 玉 Poor Girl Behind a grass door, she never wears fine clothes,She longs to marry, but would dare to help this poor girl?She asks herself,…

A Visit to Chongzhen Temple and South Tower

The complete title is: A visit to Chongzhen Temple and South Tower, seeing the first postings and new positions. The unusually long title explains the frustration of a female poet denied the opportunity to take the imperial examination like her male compatriots. The mountain peaks have clouds on every side, while my eyes are clear…

Moon Goddess, Li Shangyin

Moon GoddessThe candlelight is flickering on my stone screen,The Milky Way is fading, the Morning Star is falling from the sky。Moon Goddess, are you not sorry you stole our immortal potion, Over the blue sea and sky — seeing my lonely heart every night. Li Shangyin, 9th c. 嫦 娥云母 屏风 烛影 深, 长河 渐…

Leaving Wang Wei

Meng Haoran and Wang Wei were 8 century landscape poets who shared a deep friendship. Meng was older by a decade, but Wang Wei was the more successful of the two. The two met in Chang’an, the capital, where Meng had come to take the Imperial Examination. Failing to pass, Meng sadly returned to Xiangyang…

The Wind, by Li Jiao

The Wind has been steadily blowing here in the Midwest for three days, intensely so. The sky is thick with clouds and gray. The trees are still empty of leaves. The branches sway in the wind. So, I thought it appropriate for Li Jiao’s visually descriptive poem, The Wind. Li was a long serving chancellor…