Song of Watering Horses Near the Great Wall
- A Han dynasty Yuefu
The riverside grass verdant
Extends unendingly far away.
I shouldn’t yearn for a far-off man,
Yet I dreamed of him in the night.
I dreamed about him by my side,
Then woke to find him still away,
Away in various distant places,
Tossing about out of my sight.
A leafless tree can feel the wind,
An unfrozen sea can feel the cold;
Warmly greeted by their families,
Would one of them tell me his news?
A traveler from afar arrives
And brings me a carp-shaped case.
I tell my boy to break the carps
And a silk letter in them we find.
Then I kneel with my back erect
To read what the message says:
‘Eat well & take care of your health,
I’ve been missing you all the time. ’
By Yu Shinan (558 – 638)
With fresh dew thou rins’st thy hanging ribbons1 . There flows thy voice strong
Out of bare parasol trees.
As thou liv’st on high, thy far-reaching sound is wafted along
Yet not by the autumn breeze.
1): The shape of a cicada's antennae looks like hanging ribbons. In ancient China, the term hat ribbons (for knotting under the jaw to fasten the hat) was often used as a metonymy for a high official.
Deep, Shady, the Cold Mountain Trail
By Han Shan (??? – ???)
Deep, shady, the Cold Mountain trail;
Bleak, chilly, the brink of a ravine.
Cheep, chirp, the birds are often heard.
Peace, silence, others won't be seen.
Whistle, rustle, the winds rub my face;
Flitter, flutter, I'm in the snow's embrace.
Morn after morn, the sun always hides.
Year after year, I’ve unknown spring's trace.
By Wang Wei (701 – 761)
Still mountains: no one to be seen,
Yet human voices drift therein.
In thick woods, the sunlight returns,
And in the patterns it makes, appear mosses green.
By Li Bai (701-762)
In front of the bed, there’s moonlight.
Or is it, frost on the ground?
I look up; the mountain moon is bright!
I droop head; the heart is homeward bound.
The Yellow Crane Tower
By Cui Hao (704 - 754)
The ancient immortals rode the yellow cranes away,
Only the empty Yellow Crane Tower is left in this place.
The yellow cranes, once gone, have never come back again,
And a thousand years of white clouds have stayed calmly in the skies.
The bright river is clear, so are the trees on the Hangyang bank,
And the fragrant grass is lush on the Parrot Islet.
The sun sets, whereabouts is my homeland?
The hazed waves on the river make one fret.
By Liu Zongyuan (773-819)
Over a thousand mountains, bird flights have disappeared;
Throughout myriad paths, human tracks are covered.
In straw cloak and hat, an old man's in the lone boat,
In a freezing river and the snow, angling alone.