I doze, a guest among topsy-turvy books,
then sit amid insect song. Isolate silence,
remnant lamp casting halos of darkness,
heavy dew settling across cold branches:
it's joy absolute to gaze out all idleness,
or even more, to sit deep ch'an stillness,
and it's beyond insight. I clamp my nose,
and chant in a long-ago sage's lost voice.
Wandering Out With A Full Moon To
Thoughts turned far away from you,
confusion rife, I can't sleep. Finally
I rise, gaze up into bright stars, then
saddle a horse and wander the road
east, thinking rivers and mountains
might ease my worries. I know you
are no dinner. Come: we'll ladle out
clouds together here at their source.
When a spirit-spring broke open, it began
swelling and coiling on ahead and through
mountains crowded up, blocking the way.
It keeps flowing right on time to the sea,
harboring bright pearls in mud and sand,
frolicking dragons in cloud-and-rain dark.
Why ask where all its depths came from?
River gods see no further than themselves.
Sent To Assistant Magistrate Guide-Bell
You hurry around your life, and I just idle through mine,
so how could we ever wander up Bell Mountain together?
Outside city gates, I keep a child's routine. But turning to
look back, I see a lifetime of world-dust in a single dream.
Suddenly spring's ending. I close my brush-bramble gate,
green leaves already flooding the city, thick with shadow.
Old-age years are like this. I've lost the urge to see places,
but is there anywhere this spring wind can't go wandering?
Farewell To Candor-Achieve
Traveling north we delight in family,
and drifting south savor friends. How
could we forget each other? We gaze
anywhere into all our kindred depths.
Thoughts Sent On My Way Home From
River-Serene, After Stopping To Gaze At
My lame donkey hates the stony road
up there, and I'm done with big climbs.
It seems forever since I saw you, my old
monk friend. Our youth suddenly gone,
I keep following morning clouds away,
then race evening birds back into this
valley of pines all shadowed dark. Here,
I know you in the distances between us.
Hair whiter still, I ache to see those long-ago northlands,
but keep to this refuge: goosefoot staff, windblown trees.
Pity the new moon: all that bright beauty, and for whom?
It's dusk. Countless mountains face each other in sorrow.
Translated by David Hinton
The Late Poems of Wang An-Shih
(New Directions 2015)
I selected and designed a small foldout booklet
once upon a time of David Hinton's Wang An-Shih
and am delighted to find this full collection
~ not a bum poem in the lot