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…

Goose, goose, goose

A seven year old boy writes a poem about a squawking goose paddling in a pond. 鹅 鹅 鹅曲项向天歌白毛浮绿水红掌拨清波 咏鹅, 骆宾王 Goose, goose, gooseNeck bent, singing to the skyWhite feathers floating on green waterRed feet paddling through the waves Singing Swan, Luo Binwang Luo Binwang One of the first poems learned by Chinese children, Ode…

Moonlit night

When moonbeams light more than half my house And the Big Dipper and Southern Star criss-cross On such a night I sense and smell a warm spring In a cricket’s sound passing by my green window screen Geng shen yue se ban ren jia Bei dou lan gan nan dou xia Jin ye pian zhi…

Meeting a Messenger on his Way to the Capital

Meeting a messenger headed east As I look down the road, I long for my home far to the east, A clock sounds, my sleeves are wet with tears On horse we meet, and I no paper, no pen So, I rely on a gentleman’s word, tell them all is safe and calm Or, Gone…

The golden gown

The golden gown Cherish not your gowns of golden threads Cherish your youth instead And pick the blossoms as they bloom Delay not, too soon they will be gone 金 縷 衣 勸 君 莫 惜 金 縷 衣 勸 君 惜 取 少 年 時 花 開 堪 折 直 須 折 莫 待…

Spring Night Rain – Du Fu

Spring Night Rain A good rain knows when it is spring Wind-borne, it comes silently in the night And wets all things, yet Wild is the way the dark black clouds Leave the river boat fires lit And, at dawn reveal Chengdu blossoming splendidly like a brocade Chinese and Pinyin Chūnyè Xǐ Yǔ Hǎo yǔ…

A Gift to Meng Haoran – Li Bai

A Gift to Meng Haoran by Li Bai (李白) Master Meng, my heart hails you Your fame rises to the heavens With youth’s impudence, you turned away from the emperor’s kind hand Choosing woods and clouds, and now, white-haired Moon drunk, flower-bewitched, a sage of dreams But deaf to the the Emperor’s ear How I…

Life’s illusion

Lost in Translation Beware of translations. They often miss the meaning of the words. But the greater sorrow is that they do they convey the sense of rhyme and meter. So too with this poem by poet Du Mu, which is often translated as Dispelling Sorrow, but whose literal meaning is The Awakening. The Awakening…

Drinking Alone beneath the Moon

Li Bai (701 – 762) was friends with Du Fu, but on this night when he composed this poem he was alone with a pot of wine; for companions he had the moon, his shadow and his thoughts. There is a story, there always is, that Li Bai, glass of wine in hand, drowned in…

Song of Geshu Han

The Three Hundred Tang Poems from the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618 – 907) were first compiled around 1763 by Sun Zhu. This is an abbreviated and modified version.