Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

300 Tang dynasty Poems: #22 After Missing the Recluse On The Western Mountain

The Tang Dynasy was a golden age of culture in China. Poetry was especially esteemed. Some of the very best from that era was gathered into a famous anthology, The 300 Tang Dynasty Poems. If you click on the title ofthis post, you'll be directed to an online version. Below is #22. Enjoy.

Qiu Wei

To your hermitage here on the top of the mountain
I have climbed, without stopping, these ten miles.
I have knocked at your door, and no one answered;
I have peeped into your room, at your seat beside the table.
Perhaps you are out riding in your canopied chair,
Or fishing, more likely, in some autumn pool.

Sorry though I am to be missing you,
You have become my meditation --
The beauty of your grasses, fresh with rain,
And close beside your window the music of your pines.
I take into my being all that I see and hear,
Soothing my senses, quieting my heart;
And though there be neither host nor guest,
Have I not reasoned a visit complete?
...After enough, I have gone down the mountain.
Why should I wait for you any longer?


ms_lili said...

l love the Tang poem.

the copper chimes
oblivious to my appreciation of them
sing prettily with the wind regardless

ms_lili said...

can you tell that the wind is blowing this evening and the copper chimes are singing prettily with it?

ms_lili said...

I've got an August 1951 edition of 'The Jade Mountain: A Chinese Anthology, Being Three Hundred Poems of the T'ang Dynasty, 618-906' , translated by Witter Bynner, from the texts of Kiang Kang-Hu.

One of my favorites is Cooler Weather

Her jade-green alcove curtained thick with silk,
Her vermillion screen with its pattern of flowers,
Her eight-foot dragon-beard mat and her quilt brocaded in squares
Are ready now for nights that are neither warm nor cold.

--Han Wu

Rick Matz said...

Witter Bynner has been critized for not being entirely accurate with his translations, while at the same time being applauded for capturing the feeling the original text would evoke to a native reader. It seems like a reasonable trade to me.