Friday, October 16, 2020


Living in the Hills

In calm loneliness I shut my door

Against the whole afterglowing sky

Cranes are nesting in all the pines

No visitors at my wicket gate

Tender bamboos with the new bloom on them

Red lotuses shed of ther old garments

A lamp shines out at the ford

Water-chestnut pickers come home.

Drifting on the Lake

The autumn sky is clear into the distance

The clearer so far from human habitation

On a sandy shore a crane, or beyond clouds

A mountain top makes my content

The limpid ripples calm and evening comes

The moon shines out and I relax

Tonight my single oar takes over

As I drift without thought of going back.

Return to Mount Sung

The river ran clear between luxuriant banks

And my carriage jogged along on its way

And the water seemed to flow with a purpose

And in the evening the birds went back together—

Desolate town confronting an old ford

Setting sun filling the autumn hills

After a long journey, sat the foot of Mount Sung

I have come home and shut my door.

Written in my Country Garden in Spring

On my roof spring pigeons call

And round the village almond trees bloom white

Men take axes to cut the high branches

Shoulder hoes to inspect the conduits

Returning swallows know their old nests

The old resident scans the new calendar

About to drink I suddenly hold my hand

With a pang for a friend on a far journey

Wang Wei (A.D. 699-761)
translated by G.W. Robinson
Penguin 1973

I'm always reading Wang Wei