Writing What I’ve Seen

Yuan Mei

All things that live
must make a living.
There’s nothing got
without some getting.
From fabled beast to feeble bug,
each schemes to make its way
The Buddha, or the Taoist sage?
Unending in his labor;
morning’s herald, the rooster, too-
can he not cock-a-doodle-doo?
I hunger, so I plot to eat;
I’m cold, and would be robed . . .
But great grand schemes will get you grief
Take what you need, that’s all.
A light craft takes the wind
and skims the water lightly.

J.P. Seaton

Listen, it’s never-ending analysis that wounds us. Why not
Circle away in the great transformation —
Riding its vast swells — without fear or delight

Listening to the Rain

Yang Wan-li

A year ago my boat, homeward bound,
moored at Yen-ling-
I was kept awake all night by the rain
beating against the sails.
Last night the rain fell on the thatched roof
of my house.
I dreamed of che sound of rain
  beating against the sails.

Jonathan Chaves

In a Boat

Yuan Mei

When it rains, the going’s often swift,
but then again it’s hard to cross a river you can’t see.
Stay, or go on:  Be your own master…..
Don’t wait to see which way the wind blows.

J.P. Seaton


Moored at Maple Bridge

Ching An

Frost white across the river,
Waters reaching toward the sky
All I’d hoped for’s lost
in autumn’s darkening.
I cannot sleep, a man
adrift, a thousand miles
alone, among the reed flowers:
but the moonlight fills the boat.

J.P. Seaton

Leaving in My Boat

Du Fu

A longtime guest in the southern capital, I plow southern ?elds;
though the north-gate view hurts my spirit, I still sit by the north window.
One morning I take my old wife on a small boat
and when it is sunny, watch my little son bathe in the clear river.
Butter?ies ?ying in pairs chase each other.
Twin lotus ?owers are blooming on one stalk.
We carry all the tea and sugarcane iuice that we need,
and porcelain bottles are as good as jade jars.

Tony Barnstone