Rain on the River

Lu Yu

In the fog we drift hither
And yon over the dark waves.
At last our little boat finds
Shelter under a willow bank.
At midnight I am awake,
Heavy with wine. The smoky
Lamp is still burning. The rain
Is still sighing in the bamboo
Thatch of the cabin of the boat.

Kenneth Rexroth

Last Night

Yuan Mei

North wind, the days short:
the nights so slow.
The hard part of old age:
no peaceful sleep…
But I just awake with a start to see
the windows whitening.
Last night, at least
was just a little boatride.

J.P. Seaton

Written on the Boat, Going Home

Yuan Mei

From Suchou to Nanching
I thought I’d rent a boat
Willows here to see us off…
peaches there to greet us…
Three days of bicker-bargaining
and we hadn’t left the pier.
Now one night of Spring-tide
strikes the stern,
and love-birds, intertwined,
asleep beneath the sheets,
Have sailed a hundred miles
of Southern stream.
The master boatman calls for wine,
as I prepare some tea.
Never fear, though it’s not here.
don’t you hum and sigh so,
With the wind, against the wind
we’ll make it home.

J.P. Seaton

Seeing a Friend Off at Jingmen Ferry

Li Po

When you sail far past Jingmen
you enter the land of Chu
where mountains end and flat plains begin
and the river pours into a huge wilderness.
Above, the moon sails, sky mirror,
and clouds weave and swell into a sea mirage of terraces
Below your wandering boat, water from the home you love
still sees you off after ten thousand miles.
Watching the Waterfall at Lu Mountain
Sunlight steams off purple mist from Incense Peak.
Far off, the waterfall is a long hanging river
flying straight down three thousand feet
like the milky river of stars pouring from heaven.

Tony Barnstone

Rhymes in a Boat I.

Yuan Mei

Yesterday the errant wind blew hard against the prow.
The boatmen hauled the tow rope, as cowherd a balky cow.
Today, a lovely breeze, steady from the tail.
We’ll make at least a thousand miles, full belly in the sail.
Yesterday I wasn’t evil, today no saintly leaven.
In this boat there’s only me: I smile upon broad heaven.

J.P. Seaton