Old poems like old friends

Thought One of Four Poems A lonely swan comes from the sea Daring not to land on lake or pond Looking aside, he spies a kingfisher pair Three nesting on a pearled tree Bravely at the tree’s top Have they no fear of stones? For those clothed in beauty invite people pointing And the mighty…

To Prime Minister Zhang: Looking at Lake Dongting – Meng Haoran

To Prime Minister Zhang: Looking at Lake Dongting In August (the eighth lunar month), the lake is peaceful, Boundless waters blend with the sky and Over the Cloud-Dream Marsh a damp mist rises and The waves are breaking against the walls of Yueyang City. I wish to cross the lake, but there is no boat…

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…

Orchid and Orange, 2

Zhang Jiuling’s title for this poem 感 遇 (gǎn​ yù) means a sigh, a lament in gratitude for good fortune, and not, as it is given, Orchid and Orange. There is an orange tree in the poem and a peach and a plum, but no orchid, so go figure. I cannot argue with a thousand…

To Minister Zhang While Gazing at Lake Dongting

Note. Minister Zhang Jiuling held several important posts under Emperor Xuanzong, including head of the imperial library, minister of public works, and commandant of various prefectures. The ancient reader of this poem, acquainted with the history of the imperial court, would know that Minister Zhang fell from favor with the emperor and was dismissed. Thus,…

Orchid and Orange 1

Zhang Jiuling 感 遇 其 Each flower blossoms in its season, each flower has its place. And so the hermit in the forest seeks nothing more than to be allured by sweet winds and contented with natural beauty. ORCHID AND ORANGE I, by Zhang JIuling A tender orchid-leaf in spring, And a cinnamon-blossom bright in…