Morning Rain – Du Fu

A slight rain comes, bathed in dawn light.
I hear it among treetop leaves before mist
Arrives. Soon it sprinkles the soil and,
Windblown, follows clouds away. Deepened

Colors grace thatch homes for a moment.
Flocks and herds of things wild glisten
Faintly. Then the scent of musk opens across
Half a mountain — and lingers on past noon.

Restless Night – Du Fu

As bamboo chill drifts into the bedroom,
Moonlight fills every corner of our
Garden. Heavy dew beads and trickles.
Stars suddenly there, sparse, next aren’t.

Fireflies in dark flight flash. Waking
Waterbirds begin calling, one to another.
All things caught between shield and sword,
All grief empty, the clear night passes.

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.

Poem – The Master Said

The Master said,
‘It is by the Odes that the mind is aroused.’
It is by the Rules of Propriety that the character is established.
‘It is from Music that the finish is received.’
The Master said,
‘The people may be made to follow a path of action,
but they may not be made to understand it.

Poem – The King Goes To War

The wild geese fly the bushy oaks around,
With clamor loud. Suh-suh their wings resound,
As for their feet poor resting-place is found.
The King’s affairs admit of no delay.
Our millet still unsown, we haste away.
No food is left our parents to supply;
When we are gone, on whom can they rely?
O azure Heaven, that shinest there afar,
When shall our homes receive us from the war?

The wild geese on the bushy jujube-trees
Attempt to settle and are ill at ease;–
Suh-suh their wings go flapping in the breeze.
The King’s affairs admit of no delay;
Our millet still unsown, we haste away.
How shall our parents their requirements get?
How in our absence shall their wants be met?
O azure Heaven, that shinest there afar,
When shall our homes receive us from the war?

The bushy mulberry-trees the geese in rows
Seek eager and to rest around them close–
With rustling loud, as disappointment grows.
The King’s affairs admit of no delay;
To plant our rice and maize we cannot stay.
How shall our parents find their wonted food?
When we are gone, who will to them be good?
O azure Heaven, that shinest there afar,
When shall our homes receive us from the war?

Poem – Lament For Three Brothers

They flit about, the yellow birds,
And rest upon the jujubes find.
Who buried were in duke Muh’s grave,
Alive to awful death consigned?

‘Mong brothers three, who met that fate,
‘Twas sad the first, Yen-seih to see.
He stood alone; a hundred men
Could show no other such as he.
When to the yawning grave he came,
Terror unnerved and shook his frame.

Why thus destroy our noblest men,
To thee we cry, O azure Heaven!
To save Yen-seih from death, we would
A hundred lives have freely given.

They flit about, the yellow birds,
And on the mulberry-trees rest find.
Who buried were in duke Muh’s grave,
Alive to awful death consigned?

‘Mong brothers three, who met that fate,
‘Twas sad the next, Chung-hang to see.
When on him pressed a hundred men,
A match for all of them was he.
When to the yawning grave he came,
Terror unnerved and shook his frame.

Why thus destroy our noblest men,
To thee we cry, O azure Heaven!
To save Chung-hang from death, we would
A hundred lives have freely given.

They flit about, the yellow birds,
And rest upon the thorn-trees find.
Who buried were in duke Muh’s grave,
Alive to awful death consigned?

‘Mong brothers three, who met that fate,
‘Twas sad the third, K’een-foo, to see.
A hundred men in desperate fight
Successfully withstand could he.
When to the yawning grave he came,
Terror unnerved and shook his frame.

Why thus destroy our noblest men,
To thee we cry, O azure Heaven!
To save K’een-foo from death, we would
A hundred lives have freely given.