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…

South of the Ramparts

“A pawn is a fierce device, sacrifice only if you must.” Li Bai, ca. 751 Chinese poet Li Bai likens War to a Game of Chess where soldiers become pawns in a game played between generals. Historical note. In 751 AD, three armies clashed at the Battle of the Talas River (怛羅斯戰役). The battle took…

Give Me Meat to Eat

November, 2021, Happy Thanksgiving! “Dear Li Bai, Give me meat to eat, or at least green rice to put some color in my cheeks.” — an excerpt from a short ditty written by Du Fu to Li Bai, the Tang dynasty’s two best known poets. … 野人對羶腥, 蔬食常不飽豈無青精飯, 使我顏色好… A savage rightly likes fish and…

Mt Emei Moon Song

A poem as a postcard — the image of an autumn half moon rising over Mt. Emei and its watery reflection, departing Qinxi, missing you, on the way to Yuzhou. 峨 眉 山 月 半 轮 秋影 入 平 羌 江 水 流夜 发 清 溪 向 三 峡思 君 不 见 下 渝 州…

A Night Lodging in a Mountain Temple

Atop a teetering tower, picking a star, but careful not to panic the gods. A five-character quatrain, 20 characters in total. 夜宿山寺李白 危樓高百尺手可摘星辰不敢高聲語恐驚天上人 Night Lodging in a Mountain Temple*Li Bai (701–762) A teetering tower a hundred feet highI can pick my very own starBut I dare not speak loudlyFor fear of startling the gods Yè…

Immortal Yuzhen, 玉真仙

玉真仙人詞太白 玉真之仙人,時往太華峰清晨鳴天鼓,飙欻騰雙龍 弄電不輟手,行雲本無蹤幾時入少室,王母應相逢 Words Written to Immortal Yuzhen, Li Bai (701–762) There once was a spirit named Yuzhen,Who went oft to the peak of Taihua.                                        At dawn she would strike a heavenly drum,                                                     Soaring and prancing on twin dragons. Struck by lightening, she still didn’t stop,Traveling through clouds, she left not a trace.                          When she come to Mt….

In a Bamboo Grove, 竹裏館

Sitting alone, somewhere in a bamboo grovePlucking on a zither, whistling alongDeep in the forest, where I can’t be foundAt least, not until the bright moon shines I Want to be Alone We’re social critters who need to be strongly connected with other people. But, as every poet knows, solitude can be just as important….

Drinking Alone under the Moon

Li Bai‘s oft repeated poem inspires much thought. Were I to accompany Li Bai under the moon and the Milky Way, these would be mine to share — Alone we enter the world, alone we leave, and in the middle we have the chance to share a drink and dance. There were three there then,…

Gazing at Mount Lu’s Waterfall, by Li Bai

Sunlight shines on Lushan, in a purple haze, From afar, like a veil, a waterfall hangs. Water cascading three thousand feet from the sky,Is the Celestial River falling from heaven on high? 756, Awaiting My Fate Li Bai’s diary, had he kept one, might have gone something like this. “In the 12th month of the…

Early Autumn in Shaanxi – Li Bai

Early Autumn in (Taiyuan) Shaanxi Year’s end, the flowers now restThe season of the fleeting Fire StarOn the Frontier, the mighty frost is early andAutumn’s colorful clouds have crossed the RiverDreams circle the city’s wallsIn autumn my heart flies homewardMy thoughts returning south, like the Fen RiverEveryday, all day long My thoughts return homeward Li…