Liu Yung

Liu Yung - J.P. Seaton

Liu Yung probably made his living as a scribe, creating business documents or writing letters for illiterate peasants. I suspect, from what I’ve seen of his poetry, that he also wrote poems for aspiring young seducers, just as European scribes often did before the age of a strong liberal education for all military officers. He’s credited with making the tz’u popular in the early Sung. [tooltip content= “The Shambhala Anthology of Chinese Poetry, J.P. Seaton (Shambhala, 2006)”] [source][/tooltip]

Where I Graze

Where I gaze, the rain is ending
and the clouds break up,
as I lean at the rail in anxious silence
seeing off the last of autumn’s glow.

The evening scene is lovely enough
to chill an ancient poet into sadness,
and though the touch of wind and rain is light,
the duckweed gradually grows older.

In the moonlit frost the Wu-t’ung’s
leaves whirl yellow.
Giving love is taking pain:
Where are you now?
The misty waters: vast, and vague.

Writing or drinking, it’s hard to forget….
How many nights alone beneath the clouded moon?
Again the changes, stars and frost, seas broad,
the heavens far, and no way home.

Swallows pair, as I depend on letters.
I point into the evening sky, but
there is no returning boat.

At dusk we gaze at one another,
In the sound of the swans’ cry,
Standing ‘til the slanting sun is set. .

J.P. Seaton