Po Chu-i

The Bamboo by Li Ch’e Yun’s Window

Don’t cut it to make a flute.
Don’t trim it for a fishing
Pole. When the grass and flowers
Are all gone, it will be beautiful
Under the falling snow flakes.

Kenneth Rexroth

Drunk Again

Last year, when I lay sick,
I vowed
I’d never touch a drop again
As long as I should live.

But who could know
Last year
What this year’s spring would bring ?

And here I am,
Coming home from old Liu’s house
As drunk as I can be!

Henry Hart

Madly Singing in the Mountains

There is no one among men that has not a special failin
And my failing consists in writing verses.
I have broken away from the thousand ties of life;
But this inlirmity still remains behind.
Each time that I look at a fine landscape,
Each time that I meet a loved friend,
I raise my voice and recite a stanza of poetry
And marvel as though a god had crossed my path.

Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping


Rising Late

Birds are calling in courtyard trees
and sunlight’s bright in the eaves,

but I’m old, my laziness perfected,
and now it’s cold I rise even later.

It’s my nature: quilts thick or thin,
pillows high or low. They suit me:

spirit at peace, body safe and warm
How many can savor such things?

Once I’ve slept enough, I just sit
looking up, no thoughts anywhere-

as if our senses had never opened
and our limbs were long forgotten.

I think back to someone up early
in Ch’ang-an, clothes frost»stained.

He and I, each whole and sufficient-
who can say which is nothing now?

David Hinton

Writing Again On The Same Theme

The sun’s high
I’ve slept enough
still too lazy to get up;
in a little room
quilts piled on
I’m not afraid of the cold.
The bell of the Temple of Bequeathed Love
I prop up my pillow to listen;
snow on Incense Burner Peak
rolling up the blind, I look at it.
K’uang’s Mount Lu
a place for running away from fame;
marshal
a fitting post to spend old age in.
Mind peaceful
body at rest
this is where I belong.
Why should I always think of Ch’ang-an as home?

Arthur Waley

Palace Song

Tears soak her thin shawl
dreams won’t come.
In the dark night, from the front palace,
girls rehearsing songs.
Still fresh and young,
already put down,
She leans across the brazier
to wait the coming dawn.

Gary Snyder

The Mountain

The snow has gone from Chung-nan; spring is almost come.
Lovely in the distance its blue colors, against the brown of the streets.
A thousand coaches, ten thousand horsemen pass down the Nine Roads;
Turns his head and looks at the mountains,–not one man!

Arthur Waley