To what can our life on earth be likened?
To a flock of geese,
alighting on the snow.
Sometimes leaving a trace of their passage.
Will a moon so bright ever arise again?
Drink a cupful of wine and ask of the sky.
I don't know where the palace gate of heaven is,
Or even the year in which tonight slips by.
I want to return riding the whirl-wind! But I
Feel afraid that this heaven of jasper and jade
Lets in the cold, its palaces rear so high.
I shall get up and dance with my own shadow.
From life endured among men how far a cry!
Round the red pavilion
Slanting through the lattices
Onto every wakeful eye,
Moon, why should you bear a grudge, O why
Insist in time of separation so th fill the sky?
Men know joy and sorow, parting and reunion;
The moon lacks lustre, brightly shines; is al, is less.
Perfection was never easily come by.
Though miles apart, could men but live for ever
Dreaming they shared this moonlight endlessly!
Tr. A. Ayling & D. Mackintosh
A fragment moon hangs from the bare tung tree
The water clock runs out, all is still
Who sees the dim figure come and go alone
Misty, indistinct, the shadow of a lone wild goose?
Startled, she gets up, looks back
With longing no one sees
And will not settle on any of the cold branches
Along the chill and lonely beach
Like a flower, but not a flower
No one cares when it falls
And lies discarded at the roadside
Unmoved, I think about
The tangle of wounded tendrils
Lovely eyes full of sleep
About to open,yet
Still in dreams, following the wind ten thousand miles
In search of love
Startled, time and again, by the oriole's cry
Do not pity the flower that flies off
Grieve for the western garden
Its fallen red already beyond mending --
Now, after morning rain
A pond full of broken duckweed
If the three parts of spring
Two turn to dust
One to flowing water
These are not catkins
But drop after drop of parted lover's tears
The Ynagtze flows east
A thousand ages of great men
West of the ramparts --
People say --
Are the fables Red Cliffs of young Chou of the Three Kingdoms
Rebellious rocks pierce the sky
Frightening waves rip the bank
The backwash churns vast snowy swells --
River and mountains like a painting
how many heroes passed them, once ...
Think back to those years, Chou Yu --
Just married to the younger Chiao --
With plumed fan, silk kerchief
Laughed and talked
While masts and oars vanished to flying ash and smoke!
I roam through ancient realms
Turn gray too soon --
A man's life passes like a dream --
Pour out a cup then, to the river, and the moon
Ten years living and dead have drawn apart
I do nothing to remember
But I can not forget
Your lonely grave a thousand miles away ...
Nowhere can I talk of my sorrow --
Even if we met, how would you know me
My face full of dust
My hair like snow?
In the dark of night, a dream: suddenly, I am home
You by the window
Doing your hair
I look at you and can not speak
Your face is streaked by endless tears
Year after year must they break my heart
These moonlit nights?
That low pine grave?
Drinking through the night at East Slope,
still drunk on waking-up,
I return home around midnight.
My house-boy snores like thunder,
no answer to my knock.
Leaning on my stick, listening to the river,
I wish this body belonged to someone else.
When can I escape this turmoil?
In the deep night, with the wind still, the sea calm;
I'll find a boat and drift away,
to spend my final years afloat,
trusting to the river and the sea.
Tr. Chen Li Jen & Mike Farman
Su Shi Main Page Great Poets Poetry Page Home Page