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Chinese Poets of the Tang Dynasty, 618-907 AD. (tr. Martin Stannard)

Red Beans

The red bean grows in the south country.
In Autumn its branches are filled with pods.
Gather as many as you can and think of me
thinking of you reaping the red bean harvest.

(Wáng Wéi)


To Li Bai at the End of the Sky

Cold wind rises from the end of the sky.
What is on your mind?
Wild geese arrive at this time of year.
River and lake waters are high.
We know that writing poems is despised.
Demons hang around men like us.
Tell this to a wronged spirit
and throw poems into the Miluo River.

(Dù Fǔ)


Leaving Wáng Wéi

There is nothing here for me now.
I must return home to face my emptiness.
I will leave the city and look for the fragrant grass,
all the while ruing our separation.
In the whole world only you understand.
Those with the power to help me will not help me.
Yet one ought to respect the solitary life:
at home to hide I will close my doors to the world.

(Mèng Hàorán)


An Autumn Evening on the Mountain

Early autumn, and the mountain air
is refreshed after evening rain.
Moonlight washes through pine trees.
Stones are washed by clear spring water.
Washer-girls return chattering through the bamboo.
A fishing boat pushes a path through lotus leaves.
Although spring and its fragrances are long past,
if I were a prince I would stay to live quietly here.

(Wáng Wéi)


The Beginning of Autumn

Autumn begins unnoticed. Nights slowly lengthen.
Clear crisp winds turn colder and colder.

Summer heat cools. Calm comes to my thatched hut.
At the bottom of the stairs, dew in sunlight on sedge.

(Mèng Hàorán)



Copyright © Martin Stannard, 2013