A Poem, from Grain of Rice Mountain,
for Tu Fu
Here, on top of a grain of rice (or of a mountain
I've run into you, Tu Fu, again!
And you in a hat as big as a plate, big enough to
----keep off the whole noonday sun.
All I can say is it looks like you're losing weight.
Is poetry so bitter, so bitter, my friend?
Question and Answer in the Mountains
Ask me how it is I've come to perch in these
and I'll smile with no answer; I'm happiest with
----heart-and-mind just so, may be. . .
Peach blossom float by here, gone into the
----quite definite shadows.
There is another world, other than this one we
----choose to live in.
I Banish Me
Face to face with the wine:
eyes shut, or shutting, unconscious
while the falling petals filled the bowl,
the lap of my gown. . .
Still drunk, I got up, to walk on the moon
in the water. . .
The birds had all gone to nest;
humans, also, had grown few.
Thoughts of a Quiet Night
Before the bed, bright moon light.
I took it for frost on the ground.
I raised my head to think of the moon,
then bowed my head to dream of home.
The white bird settles on the Autumn waters,
flies alone, settles like a snowflake.
Heart, mind, set. ready: won't go yet.
We stand alone beside the sandy islet.
This night, in Summit Temple,
I raise my hand and touch the stars.
I wouldn't dare to raise my voice,
for fear I'd wake them, up in Heaven.
Alone, I Pour at Clear Creek River — Rock,
and Write to Send to Ch'uan Chao-yi
Bottle in hand,
I climb out on this great rock.
Since Heaven and Earth began
it's stood a thousand feet above the water.
I raise my cup and smile at the sky,
and the Heavens whirl until the sun shines out
----of the West!
I could sit here on this rock forever!
hanging my hook like the wise men of old.
At least I'll send this to those who came before
may the music I make, make harmony with
Overnight with a Friend
To bathe, to let float away the griefs of a
and then to drown
in a hundred jugs of wine.
A pretty night, perfect for talk, for philosophy
and a moon so bright. What sort of man could
Finally, finally really drunk, we slept
in the open, on the mountainside,
Heaven and Earth, our covers, our pillows.
Thoughts of a Quiet Night, Version 2
Pool of cold, pure light, bright on the floor
before the bed. "Can it be frost," I shivered.
Before I realized, twice bright as frost, it was the
own light come streaming through the window
made the window's image purest white of
on my floor. I raised up, to regard the moon, to
----see it, sure, and
read its meaning: this too will slip away. And
----then I bowed,
I bowed my head, my heart hope filled again,
----full of the bright moonlight
on the green, green grass of home.