Early Winter

Po Ch-ui 

Tenth month south of the Yangtze, splendid weather,
winter landscapes delightful as the flowering spring,
frosts so light they don’t kill the lush vegetation,
warm sunshine drying the broad sandy flats.
Yellow leaves on the old paper mulberry look like new shoots;
white limbs of the winter cherry, blooming out of season.
At such times I envy idlers who can get drunk–
five-horse officials aren’t allowed in the taverns!m

Burton Watson

Passing the Temple of Gathered Fragrance

Wang Wei

Where is the Gathered Fragrance Temple?
Just how many  li away among those cloudy peaks?
Among the nncient trees, no paths for men.
Deep in the mountains, where is that bell?
The sound of the welling spring
is caught in the throat of the stoney stream.
Blanched in sere sunlight
the pines look colder still.
In the thin winter dusk, by the dry lake’s edge,
I sit in meditation, taming poison dragons.m



Lady Midnight Songs of the Four Seasons

It’s year’s end. Skies are ice-cold.
North wind dances snow into flight.

My dream love’s here beneath quilts,
and the heat of a long hot summer.

David Hinton


Wang Wei

You just came from my old village
so you know all about village affairs.

When you left, outside my window,
was it in bloom—that winter plum?

David Hinton