Author: MENG HAO-RAN (A.D. 689-740) – He was associated with WANG WEI, and was himself one of the greatest poets of the High Tang Dynasty.
I slumbered this Spring morning, and missed the dawn, from everywhere I heard the cry of birds. That night the sound of wind and rain had come, who knows how many petals then had fallen?
Being sound asleep in springtime hardly wakes to morning light; listening to the birds that sing all round. So badly raged the winds and rain last night; thinking of those countless flowers blown to ground!
Author: OU-YANG HSIU (A.D. 1007-1072) – He was a self-taught polymath. His work expressed a warm, self-deprecatory persona.
All My Life, I Have Loved It
All my life, I have loved it. West Lake is good, a crowd around the red wheels. Riches and honors are floating clouds, look down, look up, the years flow on, twenty Springs have passed. Now returned, I look like a crane from the distant east. The people around the city walls, all are new that meet the eyes, who can remember their governor from those olden days?
Author: SHEN YO (A.D. 441-513)
Dreaming Of A Deceased Lady
I heard at nights her long sighs, and knew that she was thinking of me. As she spoke, the doors of Heaven opened; our souls conversed and I saw her face. She set me a pillow to rest on; she brought me meat and drink. I stood beside her where she lay, but suddenly woke and she was not there. And none knew my soul was torn, how the tears fell surging over my breast.
Author: SU SHI (A.D. 1037-1101) – He was also known as SU DONG-PO. He was the most famous and important poet of the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960-1279).
The sounds of streams are Buddha‘s speech. The colored mountains are Buddha‘s pure body.
Winter has come; fierce is the cold; in the sharp morning air new-risen we meet. Rheum freezes in the nose; frost hangs about the chin. For hollow bellies, for chattering teeth and shivering knees, what better than hot cake? Soft as the dawn of Spring, whiter than autumn floss! Dense and swift the stream, rises, swells and spreads. Fragrance flies through the air, is scattered far and wide, steals down along the winds and wets the covetous mouth of passer-by. Servants and grooms throw sidelong glances, munch the empty air. They lick their lips who serve; while lines of envious lackeys by the wall, stand dryly swallowing.
Life is full of joys and sorrows, and of togetherness and separation. This, just like the moon which waxes now and wanes then, is the law of nature. Let us wish we will live long and enjoy the same bright moon in different places.
The sunset clouds are gathered far away, it’s clear and cold, the Milky Way is silent, I turn the jade plate. The goodness of this life and of this night will not last for long, next year where will I watch the bright moon?
One desires pleasures and fears a hard life. These are sentiments one entertains before leading the so-called pleasurable or hard life. After one is in it, one tries to think of the envy and the fear and finds that they are gone. Then, where are the pleasurable and unpleasurable thoughts after they are past? They seem to be like a sound, a shadow, a breeze, or a dream. Even these four things are somehow more tangible. Besides, how is one ever going to find happiness by countering one illusion with another illusion? I wish I could express this deep truth to you, but I cannot.
As a swan goose returns every autumn, people come as they have promised. However, things are like spring dreams, which leave no tracks.
Author: SU WU (General) (100 B.C.)
To His Wife
Since my hair was plaited and we became husband and wife. The love between us was never broken by doubt. So let us be merry this night together, feasting and playing while the good time lasts. I suddenly remember the distance that I must travel; I spring from bed and look out to see the time. The stars and planets are all grown dim in the sky; long, long is the road; I cannot stay. I am going on service, away to the battle-field, and I do not know when I shall come back. I hold your hand with only a deep sigh; afterwards, tears in the days when we are parted. With all you might enjoy the Spring flowers, but do not forget the time of our love and pride. Know that if I live, I will come back again, and if I die, we will go on thinking of each other.
Author: WANG CHI (A.D. 584-644)
Tell me Now
Tell me now, what should a man want, but to sit alone, sipping his cup of wine? I should like to have visitors come and discuss philosophy, and not to have the tax-collector coming to collect taxes. My three sons married into good families, and my five daughters wedded to steady husbands. Then I could jog through a happy five-score years, and at the end, need no Paradise.
Author: WANG I (A.D. 120)
Sombre as the heavens when morning clouds arise, bushy as a great broom held across the sky, vast as the spaces of a lofty house, deep fretted as a line of stony hills. Long branches twining, green leaves clustering, and all a-glimmer like a mist that lightly lies across the morning sun; all spangled, darted with fire like a sky of populous stars. Shell like a fisherman’s red net; fruit white and lustrous as pearl. Lambent as the jewel of Ho, more strange than the saffron-stone of Hsia. Now sigh we at the beauty of its show, now triumph in its taste. Sweet juices lie in the mouth, soft scents invade the mind. All flavors here are joined, yet none is master; a hundred diverse tastes blend in such harmony no man can say that one outstrips the rest. Sovereign of sweets, peerless, pre-eminent fruit, who dwellest apart in noble solitude!
Author: WANG WEI (A.D. 701-761) – He was one of the three most admired Tang Dynasty poets, along with DU FU and LI BAI. An artist as well as a poet, he was known above all for his miniaturist celebrations of the nature.
The Beauty of the Nature
Hills are empty, no man is seen, yet the sound of people’s voices is heard. Light is cast into the deep forest, and shines again on green moss.
Red beans are known to be in southland grown. Since spring, have you seen some on branch-tips shown? Wish you gather lots and lots as you rove, for these small things are the best token of love.
House Mid Bamboos
Amid the still bamboos, alone I sit; for joys in lute-playing and laughing free. Of my deep-wood retreat none knows a bit; only the moonshine comes to smile on me.
A Casual Poem
As you from our hometown have newly come, so you must know how goes everything there. The day when you passed by my window fair, did you notice if in flower was that plum?
Having in the mountains bid you farewell, I closed my cottage door as evening fell. Come next spring, when meadows turn green again. Will you, my noble friend, turn homeward then?
In the empty and silent hills resound some human voices, but none could them sight. The sinking sun recasts its glowing light through deep woods onto the mosses around.
Author: WU TI (A.D. 464-549) – He was the Emperor of the Liang Dynasty.
People Hide Their Love
Who says that it’s by my desire, this separation, this living so far from you? My dress still smells of the perfume that you wore; my hand still holds the letter that you sent. Round my waist I wear a double sash; I dream that it binds us both with a same-heart knot. Did you know that people hide their love, like a flower that seems too precious to be picked?
Author: WU-TI (157-87 B.C.) – He was the sixth Emperor of the Han Dynasty. He came to the throne when he was only sixteen. In his poem of The Autumn Wind, he regreted that he was obliged to go on an official journey, leaving his mistress behind in the capital. He was seated in his state barge surrounded by his ministers.
The Autumn Wind
Autumn wind rises; white clouds fly. Grass and trees wither; geese go south. Orchids, all in bloom; chrysanthemums smell sweet, I think of my lovely lady; I never can forget. Floating-pagoda boat crosses Fen River; across the mid-stream white waves rise. Flute and drum keep time to sound of rowers’ song; amidst revel and feasting sad thoughts come; youth’s years how few, age how sure!
At the time when blossoms fall from the cherry-tree, on a day when orioles flitted from bough to bough, you said you must stop, because your horse was tired; I said I must go, because my silkworms were hungry.
Author: YANG TI – From A.D.605 till 617, he was the Emperor of the Sui Dynasty (A.D.581-A.D.618).
Flowers And Moonlight On The Spring River
The evening river is level and motionless, the Spring colors just open to their full. Suddenly a wave carries the moon away, and the tidal water comes with its freight of stars.
Author: YUAN CHEN (A.D. 810)
At The End Of Spring
The flower of the pear-tree gathers and turns to fruit; the swallows’ eggs have hatched into young birds. When the Season’s changes thus confront the mind, what comfort can the Doctrine of Tao give? It will teach me to watch the days and months fly, without grieving that Youth slips away; if the Fleeting World is but a long dream, it does not matter whether one is young or old. But ever since the day that my friend left my side, and has lived an exile in theCity of Chiang-Ling, there is one wish I cannot quite destroy: That from time to time we may chance to meet again.
Author: YUE FU
Sun And Rain
This morning there was sun and rain, the earth is fragrant, but my feet are dirty. My home’s beyond the edge of the clouds, the foreigner should have a happy heart.
The authors for the following poems are unknown.
A Dream Of Mountaineering
At night, in my dream, I stoutly climbed a mountain, going out alone with my staff of holly-wood, a thousand crags, a hundred hundred valleys. In my dream-journey none were unexplored and all the while my feet never grew tired, and my step was as strong as in my young days. Can it be that when the mind travels backward, the body also returns to its old state? And can it be, as between body and soul, that the body may languish, while the soul is still strong? Soul and body, both are vanities; dreaming and waking both alike unreal. In the day my feet are palsied and tottering; in the night my steps go striding over the hills. As day and night are divided in equal parts, between the two, I get as much as I lose.
Being Visited By A Friend During Illness
I have been ill so long that I do not count the days; at the southern window, evening and again evening. Sadly chirping in the grasses under my eaves, the winter sparrows morning and evening sing. By an effort I rise and lean heavily on my bed; tottering I step towards the door of the courtyard. By chance I meet a friend who is coming to see me; just as if I had gone specially to meet him. He took my couch and placed it in the setting sun; he spread my rug and I leaned on the balcony-pillar. Tranquil talk was better than any medicine; gradually the feelings came back to my numbed heart.
My nephew, who is six years old, is called ‘Tortoise;’ my daughter of three, little ‘Summer Dress.’ One is beginning to learn to joke and talk; the other can already recite poems and songs. In the morning they play clinging about my feet; at night they sleep pillowed against my dress. Why, children, did you reach the world so late, coming to me just when my years are spent? Young things draw our feelings to them; old people easily give their hearts. The sweetest vintage at last turns sour; the full moon in the end begins to wane. And so with men the bonds of love and affection, soon may change to a load of sorrow and care. But all the world is bound by love’s ties; why did I think that I alone should escape?