Lotus Flower Peak, Huashan Mountain

In January of 756, General An Lushan and his barbarian forces captured Luoyang, the eastern Tang capital. An Lushan proclaimed himself emperor. The capital of Chang’an was threatened. China was in an uproar. Nearby, Li Bai, from his lofty platform on Lotus Mountain, watched the advancing death and destruction. On Lotus Mountain’s western peakFar and…

Ascending Youzhou Tower

登幽州臺歌 陳子昂   前不見古人後不見來者念天地之悠悠獨愴然而涕下 Ascending Youzhou Tower (Song)Chen Zi’ang, 696 The Ancients do not see forward andThose to come do not see the past.I think of heaven and earth and the vastness of time,Sad and alone, tearfully crying Alternate translation: Where are the wise ones, those of the pastWhere are those yet to comeThe sky and the…

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…

Wangchuan

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

Jade Lake, 瑤 池, Li Shangyin

Myths are sacred tales that explain the world and our experience within it. They contain our hopes, our dreams. Immortality is one dream, and giving up immortality the unanswered question in Li Shangyin’s poem, Jade Lake. As our Mother of Jade Lake opens her beautiful window,The Yellow Bamboo sounds its pitiful song.If eight steeds can…

Seeing Meng Haoran off to Guangling – Li Bai 李 白

“You left me, old friend of the West, at the Yellow Crane Tower, In Spring, going to Yangzhou, in a cloud of flowers; Your lonely sail, a speck against blue sky, disappearing Until now I only see the Yangtze and the sky.” In the third lunar month of the New Year (middle March by modern…

Reading Laozi 读老子 – Bai Juyi

On Reading Laozi He who speaks does not know,I heard these words from Laozi.Why then, if the old man knew,Did it take five thousand words? 中写到 言者不如知者默此语吾闻于老君若道老君是知者缘何自著五千文 Dú lǎozi Yán zhě bùrú zhì zhě mò cǐ yǔ wú wén yú lǎo jūn ruò dào lǎo jūn shì zhì zhě yuánhé zì zhe wǔqiān wén Laozi…

Climbing Ci’en, the Temple of Mercy and Kindness, with Gao Shi and Xue Ju

Revised January 2021. Needs more thought… The pagoda seems to sprout from earth,Appearing to touch Heaven itself Climbing we leave the world behind,With each step suspended in space. Overlooking this sacred placeBuilt by the toil of the human spirit. Its four sides darken the bright light,Its seven stories slice the silvery clouds; And birds descend…