Evening Swallow, Bai Juyi

A lovely little poem by Chinese poet Bai Juyi about moving on in late life. 晚燕百鸟乳雏毕, 秋燕独蹉跎      去社日已近, 衔泥意如何      不悟时节晚, 徒施工用多      人间事亦尔, 不独燕营窠 白居易 Evening SwallowWhile other birds are busy feeding chicks, The swallow, alone, wastes time.Joining others at the break of dawn, A beak of mud, now, so what?Who doesn’t realize the season is…

River Snow, 江雪

Liu Zongyuan, 柳宗元 was just 46 when he died. A champion of political reform, he lead a life that consisted of exile and isolation. The poem Winter Snow expresses his loneliness.  江雪千山鳥飛絕萬徑人蹤滅 孤舟蓑笠翁 獨釣寒江雪 柳宗元 River SnowA thousand mountains, not a bird in sightTen thousand paths, not a human trackAlone in a boat, wearing a…

Happy Birthday

As far as I know, the Chinese of the Tang Dynasty did not celebrate birthdays. Perhaps they had no simple method of recording birth dates, perhaps it was because they viewed life as precarious, for one should not tempt fate. Perhaps it was because each birthday was a reminder of the passage of time and…

If the Beatles met Du Fu

A bird of prey in the sky soaring highTwo white gulls on the river walking byThe predator, ready to strike, floating on the wind,The prey, mewing, lazily rocking to and fro Why is the grass wet with dew?Why is a spider web untouched?Heaven’s mysteries remain unanswered?And I, stand alone, with ten thousand worries Standing alone,…

Wangchuan

whistling rain, gurgling water on a rocky shore, egrets rising and falling in crashing waves

Zhang Jiuling – Thoughts I

Thoughts, First of Four A lonely swan comes from the sea Not daring to land on lake or pond Looking aside, he spies a pair of kingfishers Nesting on a three-pearled tree Bravely resting at the tree’s summit Have they no fear of slingshots? Beautiful clothes invite pointing fingers And, the high and wise face…

Thoughts 3 – Zhang Jiuling

Zhang Jiuling composed 4 Thoughts that were incorporated in the Book of 300 Tang Poems. Gentle reader, I give you two translation of Zhang Jiuling’s Thoughts 3: Thoughts 3 – Zhang Jiuling Alone in his abode, a quiet man, cleansed of care, composes his thoughts, And projects them to the soaring goose, because it will…