On the Way from the Capital to Fengxian (Excerpts)
The mansions burst with wine and meat;
The poor die frozen on the street.
Woe stands within an inch of weal.
Distressed, can I tell what I feel?
To Li Bai
When autumn comes, you’re drifting still like thistledown;
You try to find the way to heaven, but you fail.
In singing mad and drinking dead your days you drown.
O when will fly the roc? O when will leap the whale?
Over a beautiful scene the sun is lingering,
Alive with birds and sweet with breath of early spring.
To pick the thawing sod a pair of swallows fly;
Basking on the warm sand, two by two lovebirds lie.
On war-torn land streams flow and mountains stand;
In vernal town grass and weeds are o’ergrown.
Grieved o’er the years, flowers make us shed tears;
Hating to part, hearing birds breaks our heart.
The beacon fire has gone higher and higher;
Words from household are worth their weight in gold.
I cannot bear to scratch my grizzling hair;
It grows too thin to hold a light hairpin.
Strolling Alone among Flowers by Riverside(VI)
Along the Yellow Path flowers are overgrown,
Thousands of them in full blossom weigh branches down.
Butterflies linger, now and then they dance along;
Golden orioles warble with ease their timely song.
Temple of the Premier of Shu
Where is the famous premier’s temple to be found?
Outside the Town of Brocade with cypresses around.
In vain before the steps spring grass grows green and long,
And amid the leaves golden orioles sing their song.
Thrice the king visited him for the State’s gains and pains;
He served heart and soul the kingdom during two reigns.
But he died before he accomplished his career.
How could heroes not wet their sleeves with tear on tear!
Mooring at Night
Riverside grass caressed by wind so light,
A lonely mast seems to pierce lonely night.
The boundless plain fringed with stars hanging low,
The moon surges with the river on the flow.
Will fame ever come to a man of letters
Old, ill, retired, no official life betters?
What do I look like, drifting on so free?
A wild gull seeking shelter on the sea.
For a Guest
North and south of my cottage winds spring water green;
I see but flocks of gulls coming from day to day.
The footpath strewn with fallen blooms is not swept clean;
My wicket gate is opened but for you today.
Far from market, I can afford but simple dish;
Being not rich, I’ve only old wine for our cup.
To drink together with my neighbor if you wish,
I’ll call him o’er the fence to finish the wine up.
To General Hua
With songs from day to day the Town of Silk is loud;
They waft with winds across the streams into the cloud.
Such music can be heard but in celestial spheres.
How many times has it been played for human ears?
Happy Rain on a Spring Night
Good rain knows its time right;
It will fall when comes spring.
With wind it steals in night;
Mute, it moistens each thing.
O’er wild lanes dark cloud spreads;
In boat a lantern looms.
Dawn sees saturated reds;
The town’s heavy with blooms.