ON CLIMBING ORCHID MOUNTAIN
IN THE AUTUMN TO ZHANG
On a northern peak among white clouds
You have found your hermitage of peace;
And now, as I climb this mountain to see you,
High with the wildgeese flies my heart.
The quiet dusk might seem a little sad
If this autumn weather were not so brisk and clear;
I look down at the river bank, with homeward-bound villagers
Resting on the sand till the ferry returns;
There are trees at the horizon like a row of grasses
And against the river's rim an island like the moon
I hope that you will come and meet me, bringing a basket of wine --
And we'll celebrate together the Mountain Holiday.
IN SUMMER AT THE SOUTH PAVILION
THINKING OF XING
The mountain-light suddenly fails in the west,
In the east from the lake the slow moon rises.
I loosen my hair to enjoy the evening coolness
And open my window and lie down in peace.
The wind brings me odours of lotuses,
And bamboo-leaves drip with a music of dew....
I would take up my lute and I would play,
But, alas, who here would understand?
And so I think of you, old friend,
O troubler of my midnight dreams !
AT THE MOUNTAIN-LODGE OF THE BUDDHIST PRIEST YE
WAITING IN VAIN FOR MY FRIEND DING
Now that the sun has set beyond the western range,
Valley after valley is shadowy and dim....
And now through pine-trees come the moon and the chill of evening,
And my ears feel pure with the sound of wind and water
Nearly all the woodsmen have reached home,
Birds have settled on their perches in the quiet mist....
And still -- because you promised -- I am waiting for you, waiting,
Playing lute under a wayside vine.
WITH MY BROTHER AT THE SOUTH STUDY
THINKING IN THE MOONLIGHT OF VICE-PREFECT
CUI IN SHANYIN
Lying on a high seat in the south study,
We have lifted the curtain-and we see the rising moon
Brighten with pure light the water and the grove
And flow like a wave on our window and our door.
It will move through the cycle, full moon and then crescent again,
Calmly, beyond our wisdom, altering new to old.
...Our chosen one, our friend, is now by a limpid river --
Singing, perhaps, a plaintive eastern song.
He is far, far away from us, three hundred miles away.
And yet a breath of orchids comes along the wind.
AFTER MISSING THE RECLUSE
ON THE WESTERN MOUNTAIN
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?
A BOAT IN SPRING ON RUOYA LAKE
Thoughtful elation has no end:
Onward I bear it to whatever come.
And my boat and I, before the evening breeze
Passing flowers, entering the lake,
Turn at nightfall toward the western valley,
Where I watch the south star over the mountain
And a mist that rises, hovering soft,
And the low moon slanting through the trees;
And I choose to put away from me every worldly matter
And only to be an old man with a fishing-pole.
AT WANG CHANGLIN' S RETREAT
Here, beside a clear deep lake,
You live accompanied by clouds;
Or soft through the pine the moon arrives
To be your own pure-hearted friend.
You rest under thatch in the shadow of your flowers,
Your dewy herbs flourish in their bed of moss.
Let me leave the world. Let me alight, like you,
On your western mountain with phoenixes and cranes.
ASCENDING THE PAGODA AT THE TEMPLE OF KIND
FAVOUR WITH GAO SHI AND XUE JU
The pagoda, rising abruptly from earth,
Reaches to the very Palace of Heaven....
Climbing, we seem to have left the world behind us,
With the steps we look down on hung from space.
It overtops a holy land
And can only have been built by toil of the spirit.
Its four sides darken the bright sun,
Its seven stories cut the grey clouds;
Birds fly down beyond our sight,
And the rapid wind below our hearing;
Mountain-ranges, toward the east,
Appear to be curving and flowing like rivers;
Far green locust-trees line broad roads
Toward clustered palaces and mansions;
Colours of autumn, out of the west,
Enter advancing through the city;
And northward there lie, in five graveyards,
Calm forever under dewy green grass,
Those who know life's final meaning
Which all humankind must learn.
...Henceforth I put my official hat aside.
To find the Eternal Way is the only happiness.
癸卯岁，西原贼入道州，焚烧杀掠，几尽而 去。明年，贼又攻永州，破邵，不犯此州边 鄙而退，岂力能制敌欤？盖蒙其伤怜而已！ 诸史何为忍苦徵敛！故作诗一篇以示官吏。
TO THE TAX-COLLECTORS
AFTER THE BANDITS RETREAT
In the year Kuimao the bandits from Xiyuan entered Daozhou, set fire, raided, killed, and looted. The whole district was almost ruined. The next year the bandits came again and, attacking the neighbouring prefecture, Yong, passed this one by. It was not because we were strong enough to defend ourselves, but, probably, because they pitied us. And how now can these commissioners bear to impose extra taxes? I have written this poem for the collectors' information.
I still remember those days of peace --
Twenty years among mountains and forests,
The pure stream running past my yard,
The caves and valleys at my door.
Taxes were light and regular then,
And I could sleep soundly and late in the morning-
Till suddenly came a sorry change.
...For years now I have been serving in the army.
When I began here as an official,
The mountain bandits were rising again;
But the town was so small it was spared by the thieves,
And the people so poor and so pitiable
That all other districts were looted
And this one this time let alone.
...Do you imperial commissioners
Mean to be less kind than bandits?
The people you force to pay the poll
Are like creatures frying over a fire.
And how can you sacrifice human lives,
Just to be known as able collectors? --
...Oh, let me fling down my official seal,
Let me be a lone fisherman in a small boat
And support my family on fish and wheat
And content my old age with rivers and lakes!
ENTERTAINING LITERARY MEN IN MY
OFFICIAL RESIDENCE ON A RAINY DAY
Outside are insignia, shown in state;
But here are sweet incense-clouds, quietly ours.
Wind and rain, coming in from sea,
Have cooled this pavilion above the lake
And driven the feverish heat away
From where my eminent guests are gathered.
...Ashamed though I am of my high position
While people lead unhappy lives,
Let us reasonably banish care
And just be friends, enjoying nature.
Though we have to go without fish and meat,
There are fruits and vegetables aplenty.
...We bow, we take our cups of wine,
We give our attention to beautiful poems.
When the mind is exalted, the body is lightened
And feels as if it could float in the wind.
...Suzhou is famed as a centre of letters;
And all you writers, coming here,
Prove that the name of a great land
Is made by better things than wealth.
SETTING SAIL ON THE YANGZI
TO SECRETARY YUAN
Wistful, away from my friends and kin,
Through mist and fog I float and float
With the sail that bears me toward Loyang.
In Yangzhou trees linger bell-notes of evening,
Marking the day and the place of our parting....
When shall we meet again and where?
...Destiny is a boat on the waves,
Borne to and fro, beyond our will.
A POEM TO A TAOIST HERMIT
My office has grown cold today;
And I suddenly think of my mountain friend
Gathering firewood down in the valley
Or boiling white stones for potatoes in his hut....
I wish I might take him a cup of wine
To cheer him through the evening storm;
But in fallen leaves that have heaped the bare slopes,
How should I ever find his footprints!
ON MEETING MY FRIEND FENG ZHU
IN THE CAPITAL
Out of the east you visit me,
With the rain of Baling still on your clothes,
I ask you what you have come here for;
You say: "To buy an ax for cutting wood in the mountains"
...Hidden deep in a haze of blossom,
Swallow fledglings chirp at ease
As they did when we parted, a year ago....
How grey our temples have grown since them!
MOORING AT TWILIGHT IN YUYI DISTRICT
Furling my sail near the town of Huai,
I find for harbour a little cove
Where a sudden breeze whips up the waves.
The sun is growing dim now and sinks in the dusk.
People are coming home. The bright mountain-peak darkens.
Wildgeese fly down to an island of white weeds.
...At midnight I think of a northern city-gate,
And I hear a bell tolling between me and sleep.
EAST OF THE TOWN
From office confinement all year long,
I have come out of town to be free this morning
Where willows harmonize the wind
And green hills lighten the cares of the world.
I lean by a tree and rest myself
Or wander up and down a stream.
...Mists have wet the fragrant meadows;
A spring dove calls from some hidden place.
...With quiet surroundings, the mind is at peace,
But beset with affairs, it grows restless again....
Here I shall finally build me a cabin,
As Tao Qian built one long ago.
TO MY DAUGHTER
ON HER MARRIAGE INTO THE YANG FAMILY
My heart has been heavy all day long
Because you have so far to go.
The marriage of a girl, away from her parents,
Is the launching of a little boat on a great river.
...You were very young when your mother died,
Which made me the more tender of you.
Your elder sister has looked out for you,
And now you are both crying and cannot part.
This makes my grief the harder to bear;
Yet it is right that you should go.
...Having had from childhood no mother to guide you,
How will you honour your mother-in-law?
It's an excellent family; they will be kind to you,
They will forgive you your mistakes --
Although ours has been so pure and poor
That you can take them no great dowry.
Be gentle and respectful, as a woman should be,
Careful of word and look, observant of good example.
...After this morning we separate,
There's no knowing for how long....
I always try to hide my feelings --
They are suddenly too much for me,
When I turn and see my younger daughter
With the tears running down her cheek.
READING BUDDHIST CLASSICS WITH ZHAO
AT HIS TEMPLE IN THE EARLY MORNING
I clean my teeth in water drawn from a cold well;
And while I brush my clothes, I purify my mind;
Then, slowly turning pages in the Tree-Leaf Book,
I recite, along the path to the eastern shelter.
...The world has forgotten the true fountain of this teaching
And people enslave themselves to miracles and fables.
Under the given words I want the essential meaning,
I look for the simplest way to sow and reap my nature.
Here in the quiet of the priest's templecourtyard,
Mosses add their climbing colour to the thick bamboo;
And now comes the sun, out of mist and fog,
And pines that seem to be new-bathed;
And everything is gone from me, speech goes, and reading,
Leaving the single unison.
DWELLING BY A STREAM
I had so long been troubled by official hat and robe
That I am glad to be an exile here in this wild southland.
I am a neighbour now of planters and reapers.
I am a guest of the mountains and woods.
I plough in the morning, turning dewy grasses,
And at evening tie my fisher-boat, breaking the quiet stream.
Back and forth I go, scarcely meeting anyone,
And sing a long poem and gaze at the blue sky.