Full Moon – Du Fu

Above the tower — a lone, twice-sized moon.
On the cold river passing night-filled homes,
It scatters restless gold across the waves.
On mats, it shines richer than silken gauze.

Empty peaks, silence: among sparse stars,
Not yet flawed, it drifts. Pine and cinnamon
Spreading in my old garden . . . All light,
All ten thousand miles at once in its light!

A Foresaken Garden – Bai Juyi

I enter the court
Through the middle gate—
And my sleeve is wet with tears.

The flowers still grow
In the courtyard,
Though two springs have fled
Since last their master came.

The windows, porch, and bamboo screen
Are just as they always were,
But at the entrance to the house
Someone is missing—
You!

After Lunch – Bai Juyi

After eating lunch, I feel so sleepy.
Waking later, I sip two bowls of tea,

then notice shadows aslant, the sun
already low in the southwest again.

Joyful people resent fleeting days.
Sad ones can’t bear the slow yers.

It’s those with no joy and no sorrow—
they trust whatever this life brings.

Song Of The Palace – Bai Juyi

Tears utmost gauze cloth dream not succeed
Night deep before palace press song sound
Red cheek not old favour first cut
Slant lean on smoke cover sit arrive brightness
Her handkerchief all soaked in tears, she cannot dream,
In deepest night before the palace voices sing.
Her rosy cheeks aren’t old, but first love has been cut,
Leaning, wreathed in smoke, she sits until the dawn.

Sleeping on Horseback – Bai Juyi 

We had rode long and were still far from the inn;
My eyes grew dim; for a moment I fell asleep.

Under my right arm the whip still dangled;

In my left hand the reins for an instant slackened.

Suddenly I woke and turned to question my groom:

‘We have gone a hundred paces since you fell asleep.’

Body and spirit for a while had exchanged place;

Swift and slow had turned to their contraries.

For these few steps that my horse had carried me

Had taken in my dream countless aeons of time!

True indeed is that saying of Wise Men

‘A hundred years are but a moment of sleep.’ 

Resignation – Bai Juyi 

Don’t think of the past;
It only awakens painful regrets.

Don’t think of the future;

It paralyzes with uncertain longings.

Better by day to sit like a sack in your chair;

Better by night to lie like a stone in your bed.

When food comes-open your mouth.

When sleep comes-shut your eyes. 

Spring Sleep – Bai Juyi 

dy smooth and steady
Sunshine room door cloth not open

Still have young spring air taste

Often brief arrive sleep at come 

The pillow’s low, the quilt is warm, the body smooth and peaceful,

Sun shines on the door of the room, the curtain not yet open.

Still the youthful taste of spring remains in the air,

Often it will come to you even in your sleep. 

Keep Waiting – Bai Juyi 

White billows and huge waves block the river crossing;
Wherever I go, danger and difficulty; whatever I do, failure.

Just as in my worldly career I wander and lose the road,

So when I come to the river crossing, I am stopped by contrary winds.

Of fishes and prawns sodden in the rain, the smell fills my nostrils;

With the stings of insects that come with the fog, my whole body is sore.

I am growing old, time flies, and my short span runs out,

While I sit in a boat at Chiu-k’ou, wasting ten day

Winter Night – Bai Juyi

My house is poor; those that I love have left me;
My body is sick; I cannot join the feast.

There is not a living soul before my eyes

As I lie alone locked in my cottage room.

My broken lamp burns with a feeble flame;

My tattered curtains are crooked and do not meet.

‘Tsek, tsek’ on the door-step and window-sill

Again I hear the new snow fall.

As I grow older, gradually I sleep less;

I wake at midnight and sit up straight in bed.

If I had not learned the ‘art of sitting and forgetting,’

How could I bear this utter loneliness?

Stiff and stark my body cleaves to the earth;

Unimpeded my soul yields to Change.

So has it been for four hateful years,

Through one thousand and three hundred nights! 

Our Boat Starts at Night – Li Ching Chao 

Our boat starts at night 
from the beach of Yen Kuang.
Great ships sail only for profit 

Only small boats come here because of your fame. 

The passers-by are embarrassed by your virtue. 

So in the night we steal by the place where you used to fish. 

Last Night – Li Ching Chao

last 

night 

thin 

rain, 

gusty 

wind. 
Dense 

sleep 

doesn’t 

fade 

a wine 

hangover. 
I’m talking 

to her 

who 

rolled up 

the curtains. 
Are you 

blind! 

say. 
By now 

they’re 

fat 

green 

and skimpy 

red. 

Autumn Love – Li Ching Chao 

Search. Search. Seek. Seek. 
Cold. Cold. Clear. Clear. 

Sorrow. Sorrow. Pain. Pain. 

Hot flashes. Sudden chills. 

Stabbing pains. Slow agonies. 

I can find no peace. 

I drink two cups, then three bowls, 

Of clear wine until I can’t 

Stand up against a gust of wind. 

Wild geese fly over head. 

They wrench my heart. 

They were our friends in the old days. 

Gold chrysanthemums litter 

The ground, pile up, faded, dead. 

This season I could not bear 

To pick them. All alone, 

Motionless at my window, 

I watch the gathering shadows. 

Fine rain sifts through the wu-t’ung trees, 

And drips, drop by drop, through the dusk. 

What can I ever do now? 

How can I drive off this word — 

Hopelessness? 

As in A Dream – Li Ching Chao 

To the melody of “Ru Meng Lin”
Last night in the light rain as rough winds blew,

My drunken sleep left me no merrier.

I question one that raised the curtain, who

Replies: “The wild quince trees — are as they were.”

But no, but no!

Their rose is waning, and their green leaves grow. 

A Morning Dream – Li Ching Chao 

This morning I dreamed I followed
Widely spaced bells, ringing in the wind,

And climbed through mists to rosy clouds.

I realized my destined affinity

With An Ch’i-sheng the ancient sage.

I met unexpectedly O Lu-hua

The heavenly maiden.
Together we saw lotus roots as big as boats.

Together we ate jujubes as huge as melons.

We were the guests of those on swaying lotus seats.

They spoke in splendid language,

Full of subtle meanings.

The argued with sharp words over paradoxes.

We drank tea brewed on living fire.
Although this might not help the Emperor to govern,

It is endless happiness.

The life of men could be like this.
Why did I have to return to my former home,

Wake up, dress, sit in meditation.

Cover my ears to shut out the disgusting racket.

My heart knows I can never see my dream come true.

At least I can remember

That world and sigh.