Watching the Plum Blossoms

Watching the Plum Blossoms Lu You (1125-1209)  The plum trees bloom above the gold grass hill —Though old, a man cannot enjoy their fluff?Light mist, the moon, the far-off cattle still —There’s life and death; don’t fret the common stuff.   Chinese 看梅絕句陸游 梅花樹下黃茆丘古人尚能愛花不月淡煙深聽牧笛死生常事不須愁 Pronunciation Kàn Méi Jué JùLù Yóu Méi …

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For Li Ju, Scholar

For Li Ju, Scholar Sikong Tu (~720–790)  The winds blow high before the five long peaksTo bring the life that lifts us from our flaws;For miles around, no clouds – a lonely crane –It seems the same, but he’s in heaven’s jaws.   Chinese 李居士司空圖 高風隻在五峰前應是精靈降作賢萬裏無雲惟一鶴鄉中同看卻升天 Pronunciation Lǐ Jū ShìSīkōng …

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Wandering to a New Town

Wandering to a New Town Li Shunxian (~ 910)  Life’s carriage takes me quick to heaven’s light,But here I pause to part this world of dust;Alone, afraid, pursuing dreams of flight,Yet here I’m old with dread, and leave I must.   Chinese 隨駕遊青城李舜弦 因隨八馬上仙山頓隔塵埃物象閑隻恐西追王母宴卻憂難得到人間  Pronunciation Suí Jià Yóu Qīng ChéngLǐ …

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Midnight Song 2

Midnight Song 2 Xiao Yan, Emperor Wu of Liang (464-549)  The morning sunshine strokes the window silkAs wind and light together play with strings;She smiles with subtle ease and lifts her eyesAs when a butterfly brings up its wings.   Chinese 子夜歌 二蕭衍 朝日照綺窗光風動紈羅巧笑蒨兩犀美目揚雙蛾 Pronunciation Zǐ Yè Gē ÈrXiāo Yǎn Zhāo …

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Cold Meal Night

Cold Meal Night Cui Daorong (~895)  In Manchu land the pears now blossom whiteAs moonlight broken by the blowing wind.Here all the people fast for Cold Meal Night;I gaze at home alone—cast off and thin.   Chinese 寒食夜崔道融 滿地梨花白風吹碎月明大家寒食夜獨貯望鄉情 Pronunciation Hán Shí YèCuī Dàoróng Mǎn dì lí huā báiFēng chuī suì …

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A Nightly Song

A Nightly Song Shen Yue (441-513)  I leave the door ajar for you to comeBut every night we part before it’s bright;The moonlight shines across my pillowcaseTo hide in bed between the lantern’s light.   Chinese 夜夜曲瀋約 北鬥闌幹去夜夜心獨傷月輝橫射枕燈光半隱床 Pronunciation Yè Yè QūShěn Yuē Běi dǒu lán gān qùYè yè xīn dú …

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Fisherman’s Gully

Fisherman’s Gully Huangfu Ran (716-769)  I’d like for us to chase the tides beyond,But time is up for us as fishing men;Now face-to-face, aware we will not meet—The end has come, we must begin again.   Chinese 漁子溝皇甫冉 欲逐淮潮上暫停漁子溝相望知不見終是屢回頭 Pronunciation Yú Zǐ GōuHuángfǔ Rǎn Yù zhú huái cháo shàngZàn tíng yú …

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Farewell to Meng Haoran

 My dear old friend who’s parting WestBeneath the Yellow Towers;While falling on the Yangzhou landsAre mists and springtime flowers. Your orphan boat’s a distant shade,That sails where blue skies go;I look upon the water tides—Until the end they flow.  By Li Bai, tr. from the Chinese by …

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