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This edition published 2020

The Complete Poems of Li Shangyin

Author: Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo

©2020 Mark Okoth Ndesandjo

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About Mark Obama Ndesandjo

About Mark Obama Ndesandjo


Mark Obama Ndesandjo is an American pianist, composer, writer, artist and businessman. He grew up in Nairobi and received his musical training from Bernard Smith of the University of Nairobi, Margaretta Davies (the first pupil of Wilhelm Kempff), Arlene Cole and Judith Stillman of Brown University, and George Barth of Stanford University. He was awarded the highest prizes for 3 years straight at the Kenya Music Festival. A long time Shenzhen resident, he has a BSc in physics from Brown University, an MSc in physics from Stanford University, and an EMBA from Emory University. He is an HSK L7 Mandarin speaker and an avid Chinese brush calligrapher. His 2009 novel, Nairobi to Shenzhen, was critically acclaimed and a global sensation. His next book, the memoir An Obama’s Journey (Lyons Press) has also been released in China (People’s Literature Publishing House). His published works also include translations into English of the complete poems of Tang Dynasty poet Li Shangyin, as well as four music CDs of his piano performances and compositions, including Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations and the Schubert Wanderer Fantasy. In 2016 he was appointed a professor at Beijing Normal University.


Mark is proud of his philanthropic work. In 2013 he established a foundation ( to bring art to children. Notable past activities include raising 300,000 USD with the Sheen Hok charitable group to treat amblyopia in kids, raising over 30,000 USD for UNICEF to help  children in disaster areas, with Sheraton Hotels, raising over 130,000 USD for orphans in Shenzhen and medical care for kids with terminal heart disease (with the American Chamber of Commerce). Most recently Mark helped raise funds with Chinese friends to purchase and donate 30,000 surgical masks to hospitals in Nairobi and the USA.

In 2019, Mark began a partnership with the Mozarteum Foundation, based in Salzburg. In collaboration with Mozarteum University, violins were donated to needy schools in Kibera, Kenya, including one violin from the Music School of Liechtenstein. Mark’s many honors include an Honorary Image Ambassadorship by China for his work bringing art to orphans. He is an Image Ambassador for the Special Olympics and Image Ambassador for the United Nations Committee on Combating Desertification.




I started the translation of LSY’s poems in 2015, when a dear friend handed me a compendium of his works. As a hobby, I set myself to translating a poem a day, while sipping coffee at downtown Shenzhen cafes. I completed the poems while on vacation in Lamu in late 2017.

Some friends of mine have told me they didn’t even know the Chinese wrote poems! I can understand this. Much of Chinese poetry seems byzantine, or baroque, and understanding its writing, let alone nuances, tends to lose the reader much of the time.

Up to now, translators and interpreters of Chinese into English (in general) have done a disservice in how poorly the West understands China. I believe writers and translators of Chinese need to step back a little from trying to get all the right marks and capturing all the right tones and words, otherwise Chinese poetry will remain in an enclave for a rarefied few. I want as many (foreign) readers as possible to at least get a sense of these great poets, whom I love. I don’t much care, frankly, if there are several wrong notes as long as the feeling or emotion in the poem is captured. So if one is looking for a scholarly exegesis on each poem, this is not that place.

Philosophically, I look upon the interpretation/translation of Li Shangyin’s (LSY) poems as akin to performing classical music. The pianist Alfred Cortot had bunches of wrong notes and memory slips in his performances of Chopin, but he conveys an unmistakable passion and feeling. These days, that romantic tradition has been lost in the perfect marimba notes of the modern pianist afraid to make one wrong note (in an hour long concert). I take the same approach to poems, and will not wait 10 years to publish a perfect or near perfect version.

I have included some introductory material that I also shared in my two Chinese Kafka books, as they might be helpful to the reader.

I welcome helpful insights from people with more experience than me, and with your help, this work in progress can only get better. Otherwise, just have fun and enjoy the poems!

Mark O. Ndesandjo

Shenzhen May 2018


A Word About Chinese Poetry

A Word About Chinese Poetry

“Poems don’t sell,” a manager at Barnes and Noble

Modern translation of Chinese poetry has become something of a hit and miss affair. While Western audiences have some familiarity with Chinese poetry, it is an often superficial and vague awareness.

English translators and interpreters, perhaps benighted by part time jobs, insufficient institutional support, small reader interest, or boredom, have tended to cherry pick the most well known of Chinese poems, lump them together, and toss into the stratosphere countless Best Hits anthologies.

These Jurassic Classics, to borrow a term from CBS Records and my great friend Peter Munves, have given short shrift to the depth, variety and exuberant multiculturalism of the greatest Chinese poets.

Today, there are very few translations of the complete poems of major Chinese poets. I concede that it was an anthology of Chinese Poems that allowed me to discover the Tang poet Li Shangyin, but once I started reading him, it became my passion, perhaps obsession, to render all of his poems into English.

I started in 2015, and in December of 2016, while on vacation in Lamu, Kenya, amidst the sounds of donkeys at midnight, and waves cresting in the Indian Ocean, I finished this project.

This Chinese Kafka in love, as I have called him, is also a minimalist a la Wagner, in that he expresses motifs, such as homesickness, fatalism, unrequited love, frustrated ambition throughout his 600 or so poems repeatedly, but has incredibly powerful crescendos of passion that last for the briefest moments (such as the Untitled Poems).




About Li Shangyin

About Li Shangyin

In his wanderings around China as an official of the feudal government, Li Shangyin turned to poems and essays to express themes of love, nostalgia, homesickness, and an appreciation of nature. The core of his work, his poems, concern the dichotomy between enduring love or friendship, and the temporality of all things.

In his 45 years (813AD - 858AD), Li Shangyin wrote many marvelous poems, on diverse topics, from his struggles with internal government politics to alleged affairs with prostitutes, imperial courtesans and Taoist nuns. His output was perhaps in the thousands, but many poems are lost and about 600 remain.

The waning days of the Tang empire were marked by a secessionist revolt that was successfully quelled by the Emperor Wuzong. Poisoned by his Taoist priestess, the emperor was succeeded by Emperor Xuanzong, whose new policies reversed Wuzong’s successes in arresting the decline of the Empire.

He was born in what is now Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, an area traditionally referred to as the ‘Mother of China’ (中国母亲). Li Shangyin had studied the classics from an early age. At 17, he was drawn into military service on the staff of Chu Linghu, a famous general allied with the Niudang (牛党)confucian sect. At the time, this sect competed with the Lidang (李党)sect for the emperor's favor. A few years into his apprenticeship in Chu’s military governorship, Chu was transferred to the capital as Deputy Cabinet Chief, a high sounding position but actually a sinecure, because he was not made an Imperial Counselor at the same time. When Li was 25, Chu died. Although the son of Li Shangyin’s mentor Chu Linghu was summoned to the Court as Imperial Counselor, he provided the poet no career assistance.

In AD 837, Li passed the Entrants Examination, qualifying for Imperial appointment, and joined the military staff of Wang Maoyuan (王茂元), a member of the Lidang sect. He eventually married his daughter. However,on account of his close relationship with his first mentor, who was seen as something of an iconoclast, and was never fully trusted by many government officials. It was as though a lifetime Republican married into the family of a Democrat. He would spend his life in fear of arbitrary government policies and intrigues. Throughout, due to the death or sudden career changes of his patrons or for other reasons, he would be shuffled between low level postings, and regularly denied the promotions to which he aspired.

After some time in Chang’An (present-day Xi'an), he joined his magistrate uncle in Haizhou, not far from the capital. Although his time there was brief (His uncle died within the year), he avoided the turmoil of an unsuccessful revolt against the power of the eunuchs that took place in the capital.

After years of moving from post to post, without a main mentor who could consistently guide him, Li finally joined the staff of a rising governor, Liu Zhongying in Sichuan in 851. At last valued by the leadership (Liu provided Li with a large signing bonus just to join his team) Li stayed for over four years. This was the only time when he wrote poems expressing happiness with his job and his colleagues. When Liu moved up to a lucrative central financial post, Li moved with him. However, just when things were looking up, Li’s health failed, and he resigned his post in AD858, dying shortly afterwards.

Throughout his life the factional division among the ministerial officials was less ominous for the Tang dynasty than the confrontation between the emperor and the eunuchs in control of the palace, and the officials outside the palace. Both sides would seek sympathizers among the military governors, until, in a final orgy of destruction, the once glorious Tang Dynasty succumbed to invasion and disintegration.





Chapter 1

Chapter 1

World’s End              天涯 

春日在天涯,      chūn rì zài tiān yá
天涯日又斜。      tiān yá rì yòu xié
莺啼如有泪,      yīng tí rú yǒu lèi
为湿最高花。      wèi shī zuì gāo huā

At the end of the world, on a Spring day
When the sun sets,
Were the nightingale to sing, imagine its tears
Sprinkling the tallest flowers.


Midnight 夜半                 

三更三点万家眠,  sān gēng sān diǎn wàn jiā mián
露欲为霜月堕烟。  lù yù wéi shuāng yuè duò yān
斗鼠上堂蝙蝠出,  dòu shǔ shàng táng biān fú chū
玉琴时动倚窗弦。  yù qín shí dòng yǐ chuāng xián

On the third night watch, ten thousand homes slumber
From the moon it seems a smoky frost tumbles.
On the roof mice emerge, and bats start to fly,
By the open window, the jade zither brushes forth a sigh.

Let Us Reflect On Dynasties And Families Of The Past (Historical Poem)   咏史

历鉴前朝国与家,  lì jiàn qián cháo guó yǔ jiā
成由勤俭败由奢。  chéng yóu qín jiǎn bài yóu shē
何须琥珀方为枕,  hé xū hǔ pò fāng wéi zhěn
岂得真珠始是车。  qǐ dé zhēn zhū shǐ shì chē
运去不逢青海马,  yǔn qù bù féng qīng hǎi mǎ
力穷难拔蜀山蛇。  lì qióng nán bá shǔ shān shé
几人曾预南薰曲    jǐ rén céng yù nán xūn qǔ
终古苍梧哭翠华。  zhōng gǔ cāng wú kū cuì huá

Let us reflect on dynasties and families of the past,
Made great through thrift, laid low by excess.
For all their amber pillows, it seems
Real talent, more than wagons of pearls, was the road to success
Fate was unkind to Qin Haima1.
Weakness was the downfall of the Empire of Shu.
How many would have treasured the Southern Xun songs,
Alas, Cang Wu2 wept at the emperor’s plight.


Farewell To My Wise Teacher 别智玄法师  

云鬓无端怨别离,  yún bìn wú duān yuàn bié lí
十年移易住山期。  shí nián yí yì zhù shān qī
东西南北皆垂泪,  dōng xī nán běi jiē chuí lèi
却是杨朱真本师。  què shì yáng zhū zhēn běn shī

When I had beautiful cloudy hair I left home for no particular reason,
I shifted from temple to temple for ten long seasons.
Whither East or West, North or South – rivers of tears came after.
In fact you, Yang Zhu, were my truest teacher.

Frosty Moon 霜月               

初闻征雁已无蝉,  chū wén zhēng yàn yǐ wú chán
百尺楼南水接天。  bǎi chǐ lóu nán shuǐ jiē tiān
青女素娥俱耐冷,  qīng nǚ sù é jù nài lěng
月中霜里斗婵娟。  yuè zhōng shuāng lǐ dòu chán juān

As I hear the wild geese, the crickets are already silent,
Southwards, from the hundred chi high tower, the water blends with the sky.
The Frost Queen vies with Chang’E,
The moon both pure as jade and chaste as ice.

From Jingnan to Shangluo 陆发荆南始至商洛          

昔去真无奈,      xī qù zhēn wú nài
今还岂自知。      jīn huán qǐ zì zhī
青辞木奴橘,      qīng cí mù nú jú
紫见地仙芝。      zǐ jiàn dì xiān zhī
四海秋风阔,      sì hǎi qiū fēng kuò
千岩暮景迟。      qiān yán mù jǐng chí
向来忧际会,      xiàng lái yōu jì huì
犹有五湖期。      yóu yǒu wǔ hú qī

When I left you I had no choice,
These days, what does one really know?
The blue of the tangerine fades,
Everywhere, purple sesame covers mountain glades.
The Autumn wind blasts from each direction,
Thousands of rocky crags hold back the setting sun.
I’m ever anxious to meet again,
Just like at Five Lakes, those were the days!

Chang’E – Queen of the Moon 嫦娥 

云母屏风烛影深,  yún mǔ píng fēng zhú yǐng shēn
长河渐落晓星沉。  cháng hé jiān luò xiǎo xīng chén
嫦娥应悔偷灵药,  cháng é yìng huǐ tōu líng yào
碧海青天夜夜心。  bì hǎi qīng tiān yè yè xīn

Beyond the mica screen, candles cast shadows deep into the night
Stars fade, lost in the eternal ebb and flow of the Milky Way,
Chang’E should regret her theft of the magic pills,
A dark heart at one with the emerald sea and the blue sky.

Jasper Lake  瑶池             

瑶池阿母绮窗开,  yáo chí ā mǔ qǐ chuāng kāi
黄竹歌声动地哀。  huáng zhú gē shēng dòng dì āi
八骏日行三万里,  bā jùn rì xíng sān wàn lǐ
穆王何事不重来。  mù wáng hé shì bù chóng lái

The Queen of Jasper Lake pulls back the damask curtains,
As the sad yellow bamboo melody shakes the earth.
Her lover’s eight great stallions travel thirty thousand miles daily,
Just how could King Mu not yet have returned?

Scholar Jia 贾生           

宣室求贤访逐臣,xuān shì qiú xián fǎng zhú chén
贾生才调更无伦。jiā shēng cái diào gèng wú lún
可怜夜半虚前席,kě lián yè bàn xū qián xí
不问苍生问鬼神。bù wèn cāng shēng wèn guǐ shén

Once banished, now summoned to the Imperial Hall,
Scholar Jia is an unparalleled example of talent on call,
A pity how the Emperor, on the edge of his midnight seat, absorbs his ideas.
Yet doesn’t ask about ordinary people, just superstitions and fears!

Emperor Sui Gong 隋宫             

乘兴南游不戒严,  chéng xìng nán yóu bù jiè yán
九重谁省谏书函。  jiǔ chóng shuí xǐng jiàn shū hán
春风举国裁宫锦,  chūn fēng jǔ guó cái gōng jǐn
半作障泥半作帆。  bàn zuò zhàng ní bàn zuò fān

Grand, magnificent, the southern procession marches unfettered.
Back in the inner palace, who cares about the people’s entreaties?
Elegant affairs of state require the country snip silk brocades,
Half for sloshing through mud, half to make sails!

On The River 江上          

万里风来地,      wàn lǐ fēng lái dì
清江北望楼。      qīng jiāng běi wàng lóu
云通梁苑路,      yún tōng liáng yuàn lù
月带楚城秋。      yuè dài chǔ chéng qiū
刺字从漫灭,      cì zì cóng màn miè
归途尚阻修。      guī tú shàng zǔ xiū
前程更烟水,      qián chéng gèng yān shuǐ
吾道岂淹留。      wú dào qǐ yān liú

From 1000 miles away the wind arrives.
In the clear river, from the Northern watch,
As clouds stream through turrets, courtyards and streets,
The autumn moon has the city of Chu in her clutch.
My badges of shame stay the same,
Returning home is impossible.
The road ahead is shrouded in mist,
My destiny must be to remain!

Pleasure Trip To The West 乐游原


春梦乱不记,      chūn mèng luàn bù jì
春原登已重。      chūn yuǎn dēng yǐ chóng
青门弄烟柳,      qīng mén nòng yān liǔ
紫阁舞云松。      zǐ gé wǔ yún sōng
拂砚轻冰散,      fú yàn qīng bīng sǎn
开尊绿酎浓。      kāi zūn lù zhòu nóng

无悰托诗遣,      wú cóng tuō shī qiǎn
吟罢更无悰。      yín bà gēng wú cóng

My spring dreams are crazy and make no sense,,
Climbing the mountain is not easy,
Misty willows by the Great Blue Gate,
Clouds above the Purple Temple dance easy peasy.
I brush away the ice’s light layer.
Carefully pour the rich wine. What a failure
I am, though I prepare a poem for you,
What a failure I am, as the night passes by.

The Western Pavilion 西亭         

此夜西亭月正圆,  cǐ yè xī tíng yuè zhèng yuán
疏帘相伴宿风烟。  shū lián xiāng bàn sù fēng yān
梧桐莫更翻清露,  wú tóng mò gèng fān qīng lù
孤鹤从来不得眠。  gū hè cóng lái bù dé mián

Tonight the moon is full above the Western pavilion,
Thin curtains wave back and forth in the haze.
The Wu Tong tree sighs, breaking my reverie,
This lonely crane will never sleep.

Waking 晓起                

拟杯当晓起,      nǐ bēi dāng xiǎo qǐ
呵镜可微寒。      hē jìng kě wēi hán
隔箔山櫻熟,      gé bó shān yīng shú
褰帷桂烛残。      qiān wéi guì zhú cán
书长为报晚,      shū cháng wéi bào wǎn
梦好更寻难。      mèng hǎo gēng xún nán
影响输双蝶,      yǐng xiǎng shū shuāng dié
偏过旧畹兰。      piān guò jiù wǎn lán

When I awoke, the mirror’s gilded surface turned my breath cold.
On painted screens, the mountain peaches turn ripe,
I lift the curtains, from snuffed candles drifts the lonely scent of cassia.
My epistle to you took too long to write,
That wonderful dream is now hard to recall.
Just the impression of two butterflies soaring,
While I was left alone in the old orchid grove.

Poem Presented As A Gift 代赠二首       

东南日出照高楼,  dōng nán rì chū zhào gāo lóu
楼上离人唱石州。  lóu shàng lí rén chàng shí zhōu
总把春山扫眉黛,  zǒng bǎ chūn shān sǎo méi dài
不知供得几多愁?  bù zhī gōng dé jǐ duō chóu

From the South-east, Daylight reveals a tall tower
Before he leaves, she sings the Shi zhou songs to her lover.
Yet, with all that that makeup on her brow,
Who can count the worries that make her frown?4

Airy Evening 晚晴              

深居俯夹城,      shēn jū fǔ jiā chéng
春去夏犹清。      chūn qù xià yóu qīng
天意怜幽草,      tiān yì lián yōu cǎo
人间重晚晴。      rén jiān zhòng wǎn qíng
并添高阁迥,      bìng tiān gāo gé jiǒng
微注小窗明。      wēi zhù xiǎo chuāng míng
越鸟巢干后,      yuè  niǎo cháo gàn hòu
归飞体更轻。      guī fēi tǐ gèng qīng

Cramped houses bend before the city walls,
Spring has flown, the Summer is so clear.
Heaven smiles on grassy fields,
People look forward to the airy evening.
More lofty towers, of pavilions a multitude,
Radiant sunlight streams through narrow windows.
The Yue bird gathers to build its nest,
Then flies home so light and free.

Consider 为有             

为有云屏无限娇, wèi yǒu yún píng wú xiàn jiāo
凤城寒尽怕春宵。  fèng chéng hán jìn pà chūn xiāo
无端嫁得金龟婿,  wú duān jià dé jīn guī xù
辜负香衾事早朝    gū fù xiāng qīn shì zǎo cháo

Consider the wonderfully virtuous woman behind the floating veil,
as the winter wind, fearing spring, blasts the city’s lonely places.
Who cares if my marriage secured a wealthy husband,
Morning calls him away so soon, no matter how sweet our bed!

Song of the Southern Jiang 相和歌辞     

郎船安两桨,      láng chuán ān liǎng jiǎng
侬舸动双桡。      nóng gě dòng shuāng ráo
扫黛开宫额,      sǎo dài kāi gōng é
裁裙约楚腰。      cái qún yuē chǔ yāo
乖期方积思,      guāi qī fāng jī sì
临醉欲拼娇。      lín zuì yù pīn jiāo
莫以采菱唱,      mò yǐ cǎi líng chàng
欲羡秦台箫。      yù xiàn qín tái xiāo

My darling gently rows the boat,
I too move the oars of my skiff.
You remove your makeup, revealing a splendid, noble brow,
Your dress wraps your lithesome body like a bow.
In my mind’s eye, time passing gathers so many sensations,
How wonderful, in this dizzy show, it links them with your graces.
I’m your water-lily,
You’re my bamboo flute.



天上参旗过,      tiān shàng cān qí guò
人间烛焰销。      rén jiān zhú yàn xiāo
谁言整双履,      shuí yán zhěng shuāng lǚ
便是隔三桥。      biàn shì gé sān qiáo
知处黄金锁,      zhī chǔ huáng jīn suǒ
曾来碧绮寮。      céng lái bì qǐ liáo
凭栏明日意,      píng lán míng rì yì
池阔雨萧萧。      chí kuò yǔ xiāo xiāo

The Canxi stars glow in the sky above, candles fade in the world below.
Who dares to speak of us parting, or of three paths of destiny?
I constantly think of your bedroom’s golden lock, of your window’s blue shades.
I lean on the railing, thinking of tomorrow, hearing raindrops pitter pattering over the water.

By The Pond 池边               

玉管葭灰细细吹,yù guǎn jiā huī xì xì chuī
流莺上下燕参差。liú yīng shàng xià yàn cěn
日西千绕池边树,rì xī qiān rào chí biān shù
忆把枯条撼雪时。yì bǎ kū tiáo hàn xuě shí

Gently blow away the jade flute’s ash,
Let orioles dip and soar, while swallows flock.
By the pond, the sunset embraces one thousand trees,
As I remember when snow from dead branches dropped.

Back to the Fields 归墅           

行李逾南极,      xíng lǐ yú nán jí
旬时到旧乡。      xún shí dào jiù xiāng
楚芝应遍紫,      chǔ zhī yìng biàn zǐ
邓橘未全黄。      dèng jú wèi quán huáng
渠浊村舂急,      qú zhuó cūn chōng jí
旗高社酒香。      qí gāo shè jiǔ xiāng
故山归梦喜,      gù shān guī mèng xǐ
先入读书堂。      xiān rù dú shū táng

Packed to visit the southernmost parts,
In less than ten days I will be back home.
Vermillion Chu sesame will be everywhere
Yellow Deng tangerines are fast ripening.
The spring threshers pound away in the village gulleys
Lofty flags announce fragrant ritual wines.
The sight of the mountains of my home brings back happy dreams,
But first I’ll enter my study and read my books.

An Epistle From The North On a Wet Night 夜雨寄北  

君问归期未有期,  jūn wèn guī qī wèi yǒu qī
巴山夜雨涨秋池。  bā shān yè yǔ zhǎng qiū chí
何当共剪西窗烛,  hé dāng gòng jiǎn xī chuāng zhú
却话巴山夜雨时.   què huà bā shān yè yǔ shí

In vain, my love, you question me if and when I will return.
The evening drizzle fills Ba Mountain’s autumn lakes.
Would that we snuffed the candles, gazing towards the west,
Chatting instead of the Mountain’s nightly rain and all the rest.

Moonrise  月夕              

草下阴虫叶上霜,cǎo xià yīn chóng yè shàng shuāng
朱阑迢递压湖光。zhū lán tiáo dì yā hú guāng
兔寒蟾冷桂花百,tù hán chán lěng guì huā bǎi
此夜姮娥应断肠。cǐ yè héng é yīng duàn cháng

Crickets under the grass, frost on the leaves,
Vermilion balustrades glowing above than the lake.
Night brings lonely rabbits, three legged frogs, the cassia’s white flowers,
How the Moon Goddess grieves tonight!

A Second Poem Presented To One Who Passed The Imperial Examination 题二首后重有戏赠任秀才

一丈红蔷拥翠筠,  yī zhàng hóng qiáng yōng cuì yún
罗窗不识绕街尘。  luó chuāng bù shí rào jiē chén
峽中寻觅长逢雨,  xiá zhōng  xún mì cháng féng yǔ
月里依稀更有人。  yuè lǐ yī xī gēng yǒu rén
虚为借刀留远客,  xū wéi jiè dāo liú yuǎn kè
遥知小阁还斜照。  yáo zhī xiǎo gé hái xié zhào
枉掾书礼损文鳞,  wǎng yuàn shū lǐ sǔn wén lín
羡杀乌龙卧锦茵。  xiàn shā wū lóng wò jǐn yīn

Red roses crawl up the green bamboo,
Gauze windows hide the dust swirling in the street.
In the deep gorge I just see the rain,
Even the moon has more people!
Your gold knife seduces this stranger,
From afar the sunlight glances off these small pavilions.
Left behind are scattered letters and worthless fish scales.
How lucky are the pets of your boudoir and brocaded bed!

A Poem Happily Given To a Friend (First Poem)  和友人戏赠二首     

东望花楼会不同,  dōng wàng huā lóu huì bù tóng
西来双燕信休通。  xī lái shuāng yàn xìn xiū tōng
仙人掌冷三霄露,  xiān rén zháng lěng sān xiāo lù
玉女窗虚五夜风。  yù nǚ chuāng xū wǔ yè fēng
翠袖自随回雪转,  cuì xiù zì suí huí xuě zhuǎn
烛房寻类外庭空。  zhú fáng xún lèi wài tíng kōng
殷勤莫使清香秀,  yīn qín mò shǐ qīng xiāng xiù
牢合金鱼锁桂丛。  láo hé jīn yú suǒ guì cóng

Lofty towers provide no places to meet, just westward views,
From the East, a pair of swallows bring us no news.
Immortal spirits reach down through Heaven’s three gates,
The Jade Goddess’ empty window bides the night wind, so late.
The snow blows back onto your emerald sleeve,
The chamber’s loneliness spreads deep into the empty night.
Your sweet fragrance wasted,
You hide in a room, your gold fish lock turned tight!

A Poem Happily Given To a Friend (Second Poem)    

迢递青门有几关,  tiáo dì qīng mén yǒu jǐ guān
柳梢楼阁见南山。  liǔ shāo lóu gé jiàn nán shān
明珠可贯须为佩,  míng zhū kě guàn xū wéi pèi
白璧堪裁而作环。  bái bì kān cái ér zuò huán
子夜休歌团扇掩,  zǐ yè xiū gē tuán shān yǎn
新正未破剪刀闲。  xīn zhēng wèi pò jiǎn dāo xián
猿啼鹤怨终年事,  yuán tí hè yuàn zhōng nián shì
未抵熏炉一夕间。  wèi dǐ xūn lú yī xī jiān

How many doors has the Qingmen Gate
Where willows, towers and pavilions face the Southern Heights.
Necklaces can be formed from pearls,
Bracelets from the purest jade!
At midnight one retreats behind round fans, no singing, as if to forget.
Spring is barely upon us and scissors are free, what joy might there be!
Apes howl all year and love-sick cranes complain,
While I long for just a moment with you, a quiet refrain.

Han Donglang lavished me with a poem, to my surprise. To follow up with his previous steady and wise verse “That very night he long walked back and forth while served and seated”, I therefore send two poems to you in exchange,as well as to your esteemed father. 韩冬郎即席为诗相送,一座尽惊。他日余du方追吟"连宵待坐徘徊久"之句,有zhi老成之风,因成二绝寄酬,兼呈畏之员外

十岁裁诗走马成,  shí suì cái shī zǒu mǎ chéng
冷灰残烛动离情。  lěng huī cán zhú dòng lí qíng
桐花万里丹山路,  tóng huā wàn lǐ dān shān lù
雏凤清于老凤声。  chú fèng qīng yú lǎo fèng shēng

At 10 you dashed off poems in jest,
While cold ash lingered behind departing guests.
A thousand miles away, on the Tong trees of Red Mountain,
The voice of the young phoenix was clearer than that of the old.


剑栈风樯各苦辛,  jiàn zhàn fēng qiáng gè;gě kǔ xīn,

别时冰雪到时春。  biè;bié shí  bīng xuě dào shí chūn。

为凭何逊休联句,  wèi;wéi píng hé xùn xiū  lián jù,

瘦尽东阳姓沈人。  shòu jìn;jǐn dōng yáng xìng shěn rén。

How arduous is the Sword Pavilion Trail

When I left, it was ice and snow, even as it turned to spring

How can Master He Xun[23] possibly request I create a verse

Mister Shen Dongyang is just tattered bones, how on earth!


Poem Without a Title (It is so hard to be with you) 无题           

相见时难别亦难,  xiāng jiàn shí nán bié yì nán
东风无力百花残。  dōng fēng wú lì bǎi huā cán
春蚕到死丝方尽,  chūn cán dào sǐ sī fāng jìn
蜡炬成灰泪始干。  là jù chéng huī lèi shǐ gān
晓镜但愁云鬓改,  xiǎo jìng dàn chóu yún bìn gǎi
夜吟应觉月光寒。  yè yín yīng jué  yuè guāng hán
蓬山此去无多路,  péng shān cǐ qù wú duō lù
青鸟殷勤为探看。  qīng niǎo yīn qín wèi tàn kān

It is so hard to be with you, so hard to leave you.
Even the East Wind is powerless,
As hundreds of flowers wither.
In Spring, the silkworm’s death morphs into silk,
And the melting candle’s smoky tears turn dry!
In the morning mirror, the hair on my brow is a gloomy cloud,
Night brings forth songs as cold as the moonlight.
Peng Mountain is now not so far,
Magic bird please find my love! Call softly where I can see you!

Poem Without a Title (Yesterday evening) 无题           

昨夜星辰昨夜风,  zuó yè xīng chén zuó yè fēng
画楼西畔桂堂东。  huà lóu xī pàn guì táng dōng
身无彩凤双飞翼,  shēn wú cǎi fèng shuāng fēi yì
心有灵犀一点通。  xīn yǒu líng xī yī diǎn tōng
隔座送钩春酒暖,  gé zuò sòng gōu chūn jiǔ nuǎn
分曹射覆蜡灯红。  fēn cáo shè fù là dēng hóng
嗟余听鼓应官去,  jiē yú tīng gǔ yìng guān qù
走马兰台类转蓬。  zǒu mǎ lán tái lèi zhuǎn péng

Yesterday evening, the night was wind, yesterday evening,I saw stars and constellations,
Westward lay the Painted Pavilion, Eastward the sweet scented Cassia Hall.
Our bodies seemed immaterial, just two brilliant, fluttering pairs of phoenix wings.
Our hearts were linked by a minute thread, from root to tip of the magic horn.
Seated, we played hook and drank warm spring wine,
While we guessed at riddles, scarlet beams shimmered in the candlelight.
Cha Cha! Alas for the drums  of the morning reveille.
I now ride between offices, a blossom scattered to the wind.

Poem Without a Title (10,000 miles of wind )无题           

万里风波一叶舟,  wàn lǐ fēng bō yī yè zhōu
忆归初罢更夷犹。  yì guī chū bà gèng yí yóu
碧江地没元相引,  bì jiāng dì mò yuán xiāng yǐn
黄鹤沙边亦少留。  huáng hè shā biān yì shǎo liú
益德冤魂终极主,  yì dé yuān hún zhōng jí zhǔ
阿童高义镇横秋。  ā tóng gāo yì zhèn héng qiū
人生岂得长无谓,  rén shēng qǐ dé cháng wú wèi
怀古思乡共白头。  huái gǔ sī xiāng gòng bái tóu

10,000 miles of wind and waves rock my boat,
I think back to where I started, anxiously.
Everywhere on the emerald Bi river I feel sucked in,
This yellow crane leaves faint prints on the sand.
Good deeds must in the end be rewarded,
Just as the great general Atong prevailed over the bitter Autumn.
Men, in their vanity, always strive for more,
Thinking of home and what is past, as their heads turn white!

Poem Without a Title (he moon is low in the sky) 无题           

待得郎来月已低,  dāi dé láng lái yuè yǐ dī
寒暄不道醉如泥。  hán xuān bù dào zuì rú ní
五更又欲向何处,  wǔ gēng yòu yù xiàng hé chù
骑马出门乌夜啼。  qí mǎ chū mén wū yè tí

The moon is low in the sky and he hasn’t yet returned.
My husband, wallowing in beer, is an impolite sight.
Better go elsewhere rather than return so late!
Ride your horse out the gate, as the crow shrieks in the night!

Poem Without a Title (At eight you stole a look) 无题                 

八岁偷照镜,      bā suì tōu zhào jìng
长眉已能画。      cháng méi yǐ néng huà
十岁去踏青,      shí suì qù  tà qīng
芙蓉作裙衩。      fú róng zuò qún chǎ
十二学弹筝,      shí èr xué tán zhēng
银甲不曾卸。      yín jiǎ  bù céng xiè
十四藏六亲,      shí sì cáng  liù qīn
悬知犹未嫁。      xuán zhī yóu wèi jià
十五泣春风,      shí wǔ qì chūn fēng
北面秋千下。      běi miàn qiū qiān xià

At eight you stole a look at yourself in the mirror, your long eyebrows were a lovely picture.
At ten you would run in the grass, the hibiscus masking the slit of your chunpu.
Twelve was a time to study the zither, when your silver plectrum seemed always in motion
Then at fourteen you were hidden by your kin, as you worried about marriage.
At fifteen the spring breeze brought sadness and tears, impossible to hide as you played on the swing.

Poem Without a Title (How many layers of silk) 无题           

凤尾香罗薄几重?  fèng wěi xiāng luó bó jǐ chóng
碧文圆顶夜深缝。  bì wén yuán dǐng yè shēn féng
扇裁月魄羞难掩,   shān cái yuè pò xiū nán yǎn
车去雷声语未通。  chē qù léi shēng yǔ wèi tōng
曾是寂寥金烬暗,  céng shì jì liáo jīn jìn àn
断无消息石榴红。  duàn wú xiāo xī shí liú hóng
斑骓只系垂杨岸,  bān zhuī zhǐ jì chuí yáng àn
何处西南待好风?  hé chù xī nán dài hǎo fēng

How many layers of silk are printed with the phoenix tail?
The blue weaved dome blends into night.
Your moonlike fan fails to hide your blushing face.
The carriage, thundering, gives speech no place.
There was a time you sat alone by the flickering candle,
Sad, without word of weddings or pomegranate wine.
Like a dappled mare tethered to the poplar on the river bank,
How can a man wait as all these beautiful south west beauties pass him by?

Poem Without a Title (Outside, just ceaseless gloom) 无题           

户外重阴暗不开,  hù wài zhòng yīn àn bù kāi
含羞迎夜复临台。  hán xiū yíng yè fù lín tái
潇湘浪上有烟簟,  xiāo xiāng làng shàng yǒu yān diàn
安得好风吹汝来。  ān dé háo fēng chuī rǔ lái

Outside, just ceaseless gloom,
Modestly, I welcome night onto my terrace.
Mottled Xiaoxiang bamboo drifts over the waves like smoke
How peaceful is the wind that blows you to me.

Poem Without a Title (The hermit enjoys) 无题           

幽人不倦赏,      yōu rén bù juàn shǎng
秋暑贵招邀。      qiū shǔ guì zhāo yāo
竹碧转怅望,      zhú bì zhuǎn chàng wàng
池清尤寂寥。      chí qīng yóu jì liáo
露花终裛湿,      lù huā zhōng yì shī
风蝶强娇饶。      fēng dié qiǎng jiāo ráo
此地如携手,      cǐ dì rú xié shǒu
兼君不自聊。      jiān jūn bù zì liáo

The hermit enjoys his endless rewards,the heat of Autumn makes one courteous,
Green bamboo spreads its gloomy thoughts, the clear water is particularly desolate.
Flowers are finally moist with dew, butterflies float on gusts of wind.
Let us walk here hand in hand, for folks fine as us need not be alone.

Poem Without a Title (I recently heard of a woman) 无题           

近听名阿侯,      jìn tīng míng ā hóu
住处小江流。      zhù chù xiǎo jiāng liú
腰细不胜舞,      yāo xì bù shèng wǔ
眉长唯是愁。      méi cháng wěi shì chóu
黃金堪作屋,      huáng jīn kān zuò wū
何不作重楼?      hé bù zuò chóng lóu

I recently heard of a woman called Aho,
Who lived where the little Jiang flows.
Her waist was so slender that dancing made it ache,
Her beautiful long brow was a stranger to frowns.
Some high official’s room has become her prison,
It’s too bad she couldn’t have done better!

Poem Without a Title (The light above the rafters) 无题           

照梁初有情,      zhào liáng chū yǒu qíng
出水旧知名。      chū shuǐ jiù zhī míng
裙衩芙蓉小,      qún chǎ fú róng xiǎo
衩茸翡翠轻。      chǎ róng fěi cuì qīng
锦长书郑重,      jǐn cháng shū zhèng zhòng
眉细恨分明。      méi xì hèn fēn míng
莫近弹棋局,       mò jìn tán qí jú
中心最不平。      zhōng xīn zuì bù píng

The light above the rafters sparkles like jade, the water flower emerges.
The lotus on the slit of your gown is so delicate, the soft jadite cap sits lightly on your head.
Such heavy brocade, such serious letters, your fine brow hates the subtleties of it all.
Don’t play too much chess, your heart really isn’t into it!

Poem Without a Title (The whitened path) 无题           

白道萦回入暮霞,  bái dào yíng huí rù mù xiá
斑骓嘶断七香车。  bān zhuī sī duàn qī xiāng chē
春风自共何人笑,  chūn fēng zì gòng hé rén xiào
枉破阳城千万家。  wǎng pò yáng chéng qiān wàn jiā

The whitened path blends into rosy clouds,
Sounds of horses and splendid dashing chariots.
Spring’s vernal pleasures bring out the fun in me,
Yet, city of millions, don’t laugh, I’m alone, you see.

Poem Without a Title (Arrive is just an empty word) 无题           

来是空言去绝踪,  lái shì kōng yán qù jué zōng
月斜楼上五更种。  yuè xié lóu shàng wǔ gēng zhǒng
梦为远别啼难唤,  mèng wéi yuǎn bié tí nán huàn
书被催成墨末浓。  shū bèi cuī chéng mò mò nóng
蜡照半笼金翡翠,  là zhào bàn lóng jīn fěi cuì
麝熏微度绣芙蓉。  shè xūn wēi dù xiù fú róng
刘郎已恨蓬山远,  liú láng yǐ hèn péng shān yuǎn
更隔蓬山一万重。  gēng gé péng shān yī wàn zhòng

Arrive is just an empty word, you leave without a trace,
Throughout the fifth watch, moonlight falls on the building’s face.
You’re in my dreams, where from afar you barely heed my plaint,
So hastily I write, even the thick ink grows faint.
Candles light up just half this kingfisher gilded quilt,
Brocaded bed curtains betray a slight scent of musk, how I’ve aged!
No doubt Liu Lang hated distant Fairy Hill,
Ten thousand mountains more keep me from the place I love.

Poem Without a Title (Sa! Sa! The West Wind) 无题           

飒飒东风细雨来,sà sà dōng fēng xì yǔ lái
芙蓉塘外有轻雷。fú róng táng wài yǒu qīng léi
金蟾啮销烧香入,jīn chán niè xiāo shāo xiāng rù
玉虎牵丝汲井回。yù hǔ qiān sī jí jǐng huí
贾氏窥帘韩掾少,jiǎ shì kuī lián hán yuàn shǎo
宓妃留枕魏王才。mì fēi liú zhěn wèi wáng cái
春心莫共花争发,chūn xīn mò gòng huā zhēng fā
一寸相思一寸灰。yī cùn xiāng sī yī cùn huī

Sa! Sa! The West Wind brings a scattering rain, a rattling thunder
Beyond the hibiscus on the bank’s far side.
The stove’s golden frog fails to lock out the scent of incense,
While my jade tiger gently draws water from your well.
Lady Jia peeks through the drapes at young Secretary Han,
Princess Mi Fei prepares her pillow for brilliant Prince Wei.
So many flowers cannot dispel love’s pleasure and pain,
For each inch of love, an inch of ashes. Alas no gain!

Poem Without a Title (This spring evening) 无题           

含情春腕晚,hán qíng chūn wàn wǎn
暂见夜阑干。zàn jiàn yè lán gàn
楼响将登怯,lóu xiǎng jiāng dēng qiè
帘烘欲过难。lián hōng yù guò nán
多羞钗上燕,duō xiū chāi shàng yàn
真愧镜中鸾。zhēn kuì jìng zhōng luán
归去横塘晓,guī qù héng táng xiǎo
华星送宝鞍。huā xīng sòng bǎo ān

This spring evening, I softly sigh,
Barely glancing at the sweeping sky.
I ascend the echoing chamber, seeking you,
Hearing the din behind the curtains, I fall back, fearing you!
Too bashful would I be, under your hair’s swallow-shaped pin,
Too humbled would I be, before the phoenix in your mirror.
Heading back, it’s already dawn over Hengtang’s pleasure quarter,
My saddle glistens, as though sprinkled with stars, in no special order.

Poem Without a Title (How freely the mournful zither plays) 无题           

何处哀筝随急管,  hé chǔ āi zhēng suí jí guǎn
樱花永巷垂杨岸。  yīng huā yǒng xiàng chuí yáng àn
东家老女嫁不售,  dōng jiā lǎo nǚ jià bù shòu
白日当天三月半。  bái rì dàng tiān sān yuè bàn
溧阳公主年十四,  lì yáng gōng zhǔ nián shí sì
清明暖后同墙看。  qīng míng nuǎn hòu tóng qiáng kàn
归来展转到五更,  guī lái zhǎn zhuǎn dào wǔ gēng
梁间燕子闻长叹。  liáng jiān yàn zi wén cháng tàn

How freely the mournful zither plays
By the deep water, cherry blossoms and willows spread.
To the East, my lady neighbor has never wed,
Middle age is here, spring has fled.
Princess Liyang5 was just fourteen years old,
After All Souls6 , on warm days, she made men amorous and bold.
Back home, the lady tosses and turns as the night flies by,
Only sparrows in the rafters hear sigh upon sigh.

Poem Without a Title (Towards Chang’men) 无题           

闻道阊门萼绿华,wén dào chāng mén è lǜ huá
昔年相望抵天涯。xī nián xiāng wàng dǐ tiān yá
岂知一夜秦楼客,qǐ zhī yī yè qín lóu kè
偷看吴王苑內花。tōu kàn wú wáng yuàn nèi huā

Towards Chang’men, it is said, where lived Liu Hua,
For years I gazed, as though from the ends of the earth afar.
I wish I had just one night in the Chin Tower
To steal a glance at King Wu’s inner courtyard of flowers.7

Poem Without a Title (Heavy drapes encompass) 无题           

重帷深下莫愁堂,  zhòng wéi shēn xià mò chóu táng
卧后清宵细细长。  wò hòu qīng xiāo xì xì cháng
神女生涯原是梦,  shén nǚ shēng yá yuán shì mèng
小姑居处本无郎。  xiǎo gū jū chǔ běn wú láng
风波不信菱枝弱,  fēng bō bù xìn líng zhī ruò
月露谁教桂叶香?  yuè lòu shuí jiào guì yè xiāng
直道相思了无益,  zhí dào xiāng sī liǎo wú yì
未妨惆怅是清狂。  wèi fáng chóu chàng shì qīng kuáng

Heavy drapes encompass Miss Placid’s chamber
Behind the room, across the quiet night a long line sweeps
The goddess lives, deep in my dreams,
Not a groom in sight, where the little maid abides.
Rippling water, do not underestimate the water chestnut!
Ravishing moon, who teaches the cassia to leave such a scent?
Perhaps the path to love is a fruitless one,
Avoiding heartbreak clearly has a crazy bent!8

Poem Without a Title (You paint your slender face) 无题           

长眉画了绣帘开,  cháng méi huà le xiù lián kāi
碧玉行收白玉台。  bì yù xíng shōu bái yù tái
为问翠钗钗上凤,  wéi wèn cuì chāi chāi shàng fèng
不知香颈为谁回。  bù zhī xiāng gěng  wéi shuí huí

You paint your slender face and part the splendid curtains,
Maidservant Jade prepares your white jade desk.
Even the phoenix atop your green hair clasp,
Doesn’t know towards whom your fragrant neck turns.

Poem Without a Title (How surreal your vermillion chamber’s) 无题           

紫府仙人号宝灯,  zǐ fǔ xiān rén hào bǎo dēng
云浆末饮结成冰。  yún jiāng mò yǐn jié chéng bīng
如何雪月交光夜,  rú hé xuě yuè jiāo guāng yè
便在瑶台十二层。  biàn zài yáo tái shí èr céng

How surreal your vermillion chamber’s precious light,
My cloudy liquor9, abandoned, turns into ice.
And the frosty moon reveals the night’s kael,
Atop even your jade tower’s distant twelfth flight10.

Poem Without a Title (No matter )无题           

锦瑟无端五十弦,  jǐn sè  wú duān  wǔ shí xián
一弦一柱思华年。  yī xián yī zhù sī huá nián
庄生晓梦迷蝴蝶,  zhuāng shēng xiǎo mèng mí hú dié
望帝春心托杜鹃    wàng dì chūn xīn tuō  dù juān
沧海月明珠有泪,  cāng hǎi yuè  míng zhū yǒu lèi
蓝田日暖玉生烟。  lán tián rì nuǎn yù shēng yān
此情可待成追忆,  cǐ qíng kě dāi chéng zhuī yì
只是当时已惘然。  zhǐ shì dāng shí yǐ wǎng rán

No matter that the zither has fifty strings,
Each string, each bridge, a year gone by,
Zhuangzi’s morning dreams, mystic, magic butterflies,
The Emperor’s thirst for love, to a cuckoo entrust.
Above the azure sea, the bright moon, a pearly tear, touched
As the day warms, by jade mist rising from Indigo fields.
Emotions return, forgotten memories,
Vague, all places forever lost.12

Poem Without a Title (Princess Shou Yang) 无题           

寿阳公主嫁时妆,shòu yáng gōng zhǔ jià shí zhuāng
八字宫眉捧额黄。bā zì gōng méi pěng é huáng
见我佯羞频照影,jiàn wǒ yáng xiū pín zhào yǐng
不知身属冶游郎。bù zhī shēn shǔ yě yóu láng

Princess Shou Yang’s marriage makeup is bold,
Noble slanted eyebrows touch a forehead sparkling with gold,
Seeing me,she pretends to blush, as usual just for show!
Regarding this whoring rascal, how little does she know!



1.  An eminent scholar of the kingdom of Jun

2.  Burial place of the Shu Emperor

3.  “According to “The Biography of Jia Yi” in the Han Shu, Jia Yi was banished from the court of Emperor Wen of Han but was later recalled. In the Audience Hall, the main hall of the Weiyang Palace where Jia was summoned, the Emperor asked him about the gods and spirits. Since Jia Yi talked so Iong on the subject and his stories interested the Emperor so much, the meeting went on until rnidnight and the Emperor moved his sitting mat forward.” ( from THE ART OF ALLUSION IN LI SHANGYIN by Li Zeng, University of Toronto)

4. 雨 (Rain)

5.  According to myth, Princess Liang was a young beauty promised by her father to an invading warlord. Peace ensued, but her husband, a brutal leader, died two years later. As tribute, parts of his body were delivered to the warring kingdoms.

6.  The Pure Brightness Holiday (清明节) is a time to commemorate one’s ancesters and is typically in early April. After the festival, the temperature often rises, along with rainfall and much plowing and sowing. It is thus a time of sadness as well as happiness.

7.  Liu Hua (also known as Green-calyx Blossom) was a goddess who taught her earthly lover the art of being immortal.

8.  According to James J.Y. Liu, there is an ancient song about a beautiful girl called mò chóu (lterally ‘No worries’): Where does No Worries live?/ She lives west of the Rocky City./ A light boat rowed by two oars/Brings No Worries here fast. The goddess and little maid refer to the amorous Goddess of Wu and an abandoned girl in the classic song “Song of the Little Maid by the Green Creek” respectively (Where the door opens on the white water/A little way from the bridge/That’s the house of the Little Maid/Who lives alone without a lover)

9.  In Tang Dynasty poetry, clouds and rain are often associated with erotic and intimate relations. This type of allusion goes back as far as the Book of Songs, where  an attractive woman appears to the protagonist as a sheet of rain or cloud of morning mist.

10.  Some scholars refer to twelve jasper terraces by the K’un-lun Mountain, home of the Queen Mother of the West.

11.  The poem included here is also known as The Ornamented Zither. It is actually one of Untitled Poems with this commonly used name taken from the first two characters 锦瑟.

12.  According to legend, the 25 stringed zither originally had 50 strings. When the White Maid goddess refused to play for her husband, he angrily broke it into two pieces.

13.  The poem included here is also known as The Ornamented Zither. It is actually one of Untitled Poems with this commonly used name taken from the first two characters 锦瑟.





Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Roaming                             闲游 

危亭题竹粉,  wēi tíng tí zhú fěn,

曲沼嗅荷花。  qū zhǎo xiù  hé huā。

数日同携酒,  shǔ;shù;shuò rì tóng;tòng xié jiǔ,

平明不在家。  píng míng  bù zài jiā。

寻幽殊未极,  xún yōu shū wèi jí,

得句总堪夸。  dé;děi;de jù zǒng kān kuā。

强下西楼去,  qiáng;qiǎng xià xī lóu qù,

西楼倚暮霞。  xī lóu yǐ mù xiá。

On the lofty tower I scrape some words on bamboo

The winding rivers assails me with the smell of rotting lotus

For several days I went out drinking with friends

On moonlit evenings I wasn’t at home

To seek strange things and never finish

To seek the words and always exaggerate

Forced to descend from the Western tower

I see it lean into rosy clouds, a higher power


Qinghe River            清河 

舟小回仍数,  zhōu xiǎo huí réng shǔ;shù;shuò,

楼危凭亦频。  lóu wēi píng yì pín。

燕来从及社,  yàn lái cóng;zòng;cōng jí shè,

蝶舞太侵晨。  dié wǔ tài  qīn chén。

绛雪除烦后,  jiāng xuě chú fán hòu,

霜梅取味新。  shuāng méi qǔ wèi xīn。

年华无一事,  nián huá wú yī shì,

只是自伤春。  zhǐ shì  zì shāng chūn。

The small boats frequently return

I often lean from the tower’s scary heights

The swallow obeys the Spring Goddess

Too early, the butterfly dances, invades the morning

Crimson ice dispels one’s troubles

Frosted peaches gather fresh tastes

In all the world there’s just one troublesome thing

That is, the worries I receive in the Spring


Moon               月

池上与桥边,  chí shàng yǔ qiáo biān,

难忘复可怜。  nán wàng fù  kě lián。

帘开最明夜,  lián kāi zuì míng yè,

簟卷已凉天。  diàn juǎn;juàn yǐ liáng tiān。

流处水花急,  liú chù;chǔ  shuǐ huā jí,

吐时云叶鲜。  tǔ shí yún yè xiān。

姮娥无粉黛,  héng é wú  fěn dài,

只是逞婵娟。  zhǐ shì chěng  chán juān。

Above the pool and by the bridge

Unforgettable, pitied again and again

The curtain opens, and you light up the night

The mats are rolled up, it’s already cold

You wash over the water, pressing flower upon flower

You burst out and moisten clouds grouped like leaves

Chang E[1] has no makeup

Just a lovely, lovely face.



The Cloud Goddess of Qiliang              齐梁晴云


缓逐烟波起,  huǎn zhú  yān bō qǐ,

如妒柳绵飘。  rú dù liǔ mián piāo。

故临飞阁度,  gù lín fēi dū;gé dù,

欲入回陂销。  yù rù huí pō;pí xiāo。

萦歌怜画扇,  yíng gē lián huà shàn;shān,

敞景弄柔条。  chǎng jǐng nòng;lòng róu tiáo。

更奈天南位,  gèng;gēng nài tiān nán wèi,

牛渚宿残宵。  niú zhǔ sù;xiǔ cán xiāo。

Unhurried, rising with the waves

As though envious of the willow’s swaying, silky floss

From soaring over the pavilions

Then diving into the gulley

The arching sounds of song sway with the painted fans

The Cloud Goddess grasps the willow’s leaves

One must pity the Southern Heavens,

The Herd Boy[2] rests the remainder of the night.



Limerick           俳谐


短顾何由遂,  duǎn;duān gù hé yóu suì,

迟光且莫惊。  chí guāng qiě mò jīng。

莺能歌子夜,  yīng néng gē  zǐ yè,

蝶解舞宫城。  dié jiě wǔ gōng chéng。

柳讶眉双浅,  liǔ yà méi shuāng qiǎn,

桃猜粉太轻。  táo cāi fěn tài qīng。

年华有情状,  nián huá  yǒu qíng zhuàng,

吾岂怯平生。  wú qǐ qiè  píng shēng。


Looking quickly around, I ask whence the right path?

In this evening light, all seems serene

At midnight the warbler can sing

Set free, the palace butterflies dance

The willow’s eyebrows are both startled at the smallest slight

The blush on the peaches[3] is a little too light

As long as time presents me with such conditions

I won’t be cowardly when it comes to life’s mission!


Lotus           荷花


都无色可并,  dōu;dū  wú sè kě bìng,

不奈此香何。  bù nài cǐ xiāng hé。

瑶席乘凉设,  yáo xí  chéng liáng shè,

金羁落晚过。  jīn jī luò;lào;là wǎn guò。

回衾灯照绮,  huí qīn dēng zhào qǐ,

渡袜水沾罗。  dù wà shuǐ zhān luó;luō。

预想前秋别,  yù xiǎng qián qiū biè;bié,

离居梦棹歌。  lí;róu jū mèng zhuō gē。

Everything pales next to your color

One cannot bear how sweet you smell

The Yao mat is placed in a cool place

The golden reins fall back as the night passes

Heading back, the lamp  reveals the silk quilt

Socks moistened by the demon of the water[4] crossing

I think of Autumn after you have bid farewell

When I will dream of you rowing, and the songs you tell.

A Gift of a Lotus               赠荷花

 世间花叶不相伦,  shì jiān huā yè bù xiàng;xiāng lún,

花入金盆叶作尘。  huā rù jīn pén yè zuò chén。

惟有绿荷红菡萏,  wéi yǒu lǜ hè;hé hóng hàn dàn,

卷舒开合任天真。  juǎn;juàn shū kāi hé;gé rèn  tiān zhēn。

此花此叶常相映,  cǐ huā cǐ yè cháng xiàng;xiāng yìng,

翠减红衰愁杀人。  cuì jiǎn hóng shuāi;cuī chóu  shā rén。

In all the world the lotus flower and leaf are beyond compare

The flower sinks into golden bowls[5], the leaves turn to dust

Unique the green lotus and its scarlet buds that grow

So naturally, curling up or opening just so

This flower and this leaf shine as if cheek to cheek

One’s heart breaks when the green fades and the red decays.

The Palace of Emperor Chen – Two Poems        陈后宫

玄武开新苑,  xuán wǔ kāi xīn yuàn,

龙舟宴幸频。  lóng zhōu yàn xìng pín。

渚莲参法驾,  zhǔ lián cān;shān;shēn fǎ jià,

沙鸟犯句陈。  shā niǎo fàn jù chén。

寿献金茎露,  shòu xiàn jīn jīng lù;lòu,

歌翻玉树尘。  gē fān yù shù chén。

夜来江令醉,  yè lái jiāng lìng zuì,

别诏宿临春。  biè;bié zhào sù;xiǔ lín chūn。

Poem 1


On Xuanwu Lake the new garden unfolds

The dragon boat often hosts banquets for the fortunate

The lotus entices the Imperial carriage driver

The sandgull disobeys the Chen Palace rules

Golden hands and arms rise with the gift of long life[6]

The sound of music shakes dust off the jade trees

Jiang Ling gets drunk when night arrives

The Emperor orders him to sleep in the Spring Pavilion


茂苑城如画,mào yuàn chéng  rú huà,

阊门瓦欲流。chāng mén wǎ yù liú。

还依水光殿,hái;huán yī shuǐ guāng diàn,

更起月华楼。gèng;gēng qǐ  yuè huá lóu。

侵夜鸾开镜,qīn yè luán kāi jìng,

迎冬雉献裘。yíng dōng zhì xiàn qiú。

从臣皆半醉,cóng;zòng;cōng chén jiē bàn zuì,

天子正无愁。tiān zǐ zhèng;zhēng wú chóu。

Poem 2

The city’s luxuriant garden is like a painting

The heavenly gates flow like a mirage

Water shines by the temple

Moonlight rises over the towers

Night invades the Phoenix mirror[7]

In winter, the pheasant fur coat is welcomed

All the nobles, half drunk, are hosted

The Emperor truly has nothing to worry about!


Eastwards with the Soldiers         隋师东


东征日调万黄金,  dōng zhēng rì diào wàn  huáng jīn,

几竭中原买斗心。  jǐ;jī jié  zhōng yuán mǎi dòu;dǒu xīn。

军令未闻诛马谡,  jūn lìng wèi wén zhū mǎ sù,

捷书惟是报孙歆。  jié shū wéi shì bào sūn xīn。

但须鸑鷟巢阿阁,  dàn xū yuè zhuó cháo ā;ē dū;gé,

岂假鸱鸮在泮林。  qǐ jiǎ;jià chī xiāo zài pàn lín。

可惜前朝玄菟郡,  kě xī qián cháo;zhāo xuán tù jùn,

积骸成莽阵云深。jī hái chéng mǎng zhèn yún shēn。

The Eastern Expedition[8] daily spends ten thousand gold pieces

Almost emptying the Central Plains, getting souls for sale

The edicts were ignorant of the tale of General Masu

Glorious reports were as false as those of Sun Xin

But when the Phoenix and the Luan must nest by the Wooded Pavilion

How can one let the owls roost in the groundskeeper’s tree’s[9]?

Pity the story of the Han court’s Xuantu garrisons,

Beneath frowning clouds, piles of bones formed stinking grass!


The Fifth Poem Which, At The Tianping Banquet, Was Presented To Official Ling Hu, Stationed At Caijing And Who Studied The Scriptures In The Capital   天平公座中呈令狐令公,时蔡京在坐,京曾为僧徒,故有第五句

罢执霓旌上醮坛,  bà;ba zhí ní jīng shàng jiào tán,

慢妆娇树水晶盘。  màn zhuāng jiāo shù  shuǐ jīng pán。

更深欲诉蛾眉敛,  gēng shēn yù sù;xīn  é méi liǎn,

衣薄临醒玉艳寒。  yì;yī bò;báo;bó lín xǐng yù yàn hán。

白足禅僧思败道,  bái zú chán;shàn sēng sī bài dào,

青袍御史拟休官。  qīng páo  yù shǐ nǐ xiū guān。

虽然同是将军客,  suī rán tóng;tòng shì  jiāng jūn kè,

不敢公然子细看。  bù gǎn  gōng rán zǐ  xì kàn。


She does not hold the rainbow[10] banner above the sacred alter

Rather the crystal bowl, with light makeup,  like a Jade tree with a gentle manner

How one wants to urge Miss Moth Eyebrows[11] to hold back still

Her face wan, when she wakes in her thin clothes, as if feeling a chill

He whose feet were always unsullied abandoned the scriptures

Donned the green robes, and made the Imperial Censor[12] his future

Although soldiers and guests are the officials with whom he serves

He can be quite brazen, and for her sake, he keenly observes!

A Spring Day           春日


欲入卢家白玉堂,  yù rù lú jiā bái yù táng,

新春催破舞衣裳。  xīn chūn cuī pò wǔ  yī cháng。

蝶衔红蕊蜂衔粉,  dié xián hóng ruǐ fēng xián fěn,

共助青楼一日忙。  gòng zhù  qīng lóu  yī rì máng。

To enter the white jade hall of the Lu Family[13]

This New Year[14], one quickly makes a dancing skirt

The butterfly tends to its flowers, pollen is gathered by the bee

Today , all this helps make the Green Tower quite busy and alert!

Passion             闺情


红露花房白蜜脾,  hóng lù;lòu  huā fáng bái mì pí,

黄蜂紫蝶两参差。  huáng fēng zǐ dié liǎng  cēn cī。

春窗一觉风流梦,  chūn chuāng  yī jiào  fēng liú mèng,

却是同袍不得知。  què shì  tóng páo  bù dé zhī。

The scarlet flower emerges, a white honeycomb

The golden bee and the purple butterfly hovering light and free

Before the curtain the spring[15] wind flows through my dreams

Yet where is the hug or embrace, that I do not know!


The Radiance of Spring              春光

日日春光斗日光,  rì rì  chūn guāng dòu;dǒu  rì guāng,

山城斜路杏花香。  shān chéng  xié lù xìng  huā xiāng。

几时心绪浑无事,  jǐ shí  xīn xù hún  wú shì,

得及游丝百尺长?  dé;děi;de jí  yóu sī bǎi chǐ;chě cháng;zhǎng?

The radiance of spring tussles with sunlight,day after day

The scent of apricots, a road that slants over the mountain city

When my heart is full of meaningless things

Can the trembling gossamer

travel one hundred chi

So far?



Judging Spring             判春


一桃复一李,  yī táo fù yī lǐ,

井上占年芳。  jǐng shàng zhàn;zhān nián fāng。

笑处如临镜,  xiào chù;chǔ rú lín jìng,

窥时不隐墙。  kuī shí bù yǐn qiáng。

敢言西子短,  gǎn yán xī zǐ duǎn;duān,

谁觉宓妃长。  shuí jué;jiào mì fēi cháng;zhǎng。

珠玉终相类,  zhū yù zhōng xiàng;xiāng lèi,

同名作夜光。  tóng míng zuò  yè guāng。


Peach tree, plum tree so near and dear

Lie over the well, fragrant all year.

They smile as in front of a mirror

When they peek out from behind the wall

I dare to mention Xi Zi[16]‘s short hair

And who thinks Mi Fei’s was long?

The Pearl and the Jade are equally bright

No more, no less, they fill up the night


The Peony       牡丹·锦帏初卷卫夫人


锦帏初卷卫夫人,  jǐn wéi chū juǎn;juàn wèi  fū rén,

绣被犹堆越鄂君。  xiù bèi yóu duī yuè è jūn。

垂手乱翻雕玉佩,  chuí shǒu luàn fān diāo  yù pèi,

招腰争舞郁金裙。  zhāo yāo zhēng wǔ yù jīn qún。

石家蜡烛何曾剪,  shí jiā  là zhú  hé céng jiǎn,

荀令香炉可待熏。  xún lìng  xiāng lú kě dāi xūn。

我是梦中传彩笔,  wǒ shì  mèng zhōng zhuàn;chuán  cǎi bǐ,

欲书花叶寄朝云。  yù shū huā yè jì cháo;zhāo yún。

Your brocaded curtains first roll up around the Lady of Wei[17]

Embroidered sheets pile up by the Marquis of Yue[18]

Your carved jade pendants are like hands waving upside down[19]

Bright saffron skirts dance as though their waists will snap

How could the Stone God clip such precious candles? [20]

Could Master Xun Ling’s furnace produce such a scent? [21]

In my dreams I received a brush of many colors[22]

To write a message on these leaves for the morning clouds


For The Flowers Beneath Master Zhi           赠子直花下

池光忽隐墙,  chí guāng hū yǐn qiáng,

花气乱侵房。  huā qì luàn qīn fáng。

屏缘蝶留粉,  píng;bǐng yuán dié liú fěn,

窗油蜂印黄。  chuāng yóu fēng yìn huáng。

官书推小吏,  guān shū tuī  xiǎo lì,

侍史从清郎。  shì shǐ cóng;zòng;cōng qīng láng。

并马更吟去,  bìng mǎ gèng;gēng yín qù,

寻思有底忙。  xún si  yǒu dǐ máng。

The dim walls ignore the shining pool

Flowers invade the chamber without order

The butterfly[23] leaves its colors on the screen

Yellow honeybee marks lie on painted windows

The official letter is offered to Little Li

A woman free and easy to wait on your officials

Let us two horses cry out together

So what if we are busy with work, when like minds inquire?


For Middle Assistant Yuwen             赠宇文中丞

欲构中天正急材,  yù gòu  zhōng tiān zhèng;zhēng jí cái,

自缘烟水恋平台。  zì yuán yān shuǐ liàn  píng tái。

人间只有嵇延祖,  rén jiān  zhǐ yǒu jí yán zǔ,

最望山公启事来。  zuì wàng shān gōng  qǐ shì lái。

The building of Middle Heaven Terrace truly required integrity and talent

Of one who loves the mist and rain of Pingtai

In all the world there is only Master Ji Yanzu

Who most looks forward to the summons from Shangong.

A Little Rain            微雨

初随林霭动,   chū suí lín ǎi dòng,

稍共夜凉分.   shāo gòng yè liáng fēn.

窗迥侵灯冷,   chuāng jiǒng qīn dēng lěng,

庭虚近水闻.   tíng xū jìn shuǐ wén.

At first a haze seems to move over the trees

With this little rain a coolness sweeps through the night

Muted lamplight intrudes into cold windows and parlors

In empty halls, the water sounds quite near

Drizzling Rain          细雨
帷飘白玉堂,   wéi piāo bái yù táng,

簟卷碧牙床.   diàn juǎn;juàn bì  yá chuáng.

楚女当时意,   chǔ nǚ  dāng shí;dàng shí yì,

萧萧发彩凉.   xiāo xiāo fā;fà cǎi liáng.

Drapes swaying, a white jade[24]hall

Rolled up mats, a green bed shaped like a tooth

When the Goddess of Chu creates the rain

Her hair sparkles in the mirror with a cold light.




摵摵度瓜园,  sè sè dù guā yuán,

依依傍竹轩。  yī yī bàng zhú xuān。

秋池不自冷,  qiū chí bù zì lěng,

风叶共成喧。  fēng yè gòng chéng xuān。

窗迥有时见,  chuāng jiǒng  yǒu shí jiàn;xiàn,

檐高相续翻。  yán gāo xiàng;xiāng xù fān。

侵宵送书雁,  qīn xiāo sòng shū yàn,

应为稻粱恩。  yīng;yìng wèi;wéi dào liáng ēn。


She! She! The rain sounds on melon fields

Bamboo stalks and fences all cluster nearby

The Autumn pond does not feel cool

The wind sweeps up the leaves with a roar

Windows and pavilions are faintly seen

Eaves on the towers flap again and again

The wild geese[25] carries its letters into the night

Blessing the millet fields below


Thank You Letter       谢书

微意何曾有一毫,  wēi yì  hé céng yǒu yī háo,

空携笔砚奉龙韬。  kōng xié bǐ yàn fèng lóng tāo。

自蒙半夜传衣后,  zì méng;mēng;měng  bàn yè zhuàn;chuán yì;yī hòu,

不羡王祥得佩刀。  bù xiàn wáng xiáng dé;děi;de  pèi dāo。

How you paid a little attention to this slight young leaf[26]

My hands empty, an ink brush stone was given by the dragon Sage

In the middle of the night I changed my clothes[27], afterwards

I did not envy King Wang’s blade of piety.

Xiangyang Palace        咸阳


咸阳宫阙郁嵯峨,  xián;xiān yáng  gōng què yù  cuó é,

六国楼台艳绮罗。  liù guó  lóu tái yàn qǐ luó;luō。

自是当时天帝醉,  zì shì  dāng shí;dàng shí  tiān dì zuì,

不关秦地有山河。  bù guān qín dì;de yǒu  shān hé。

The watchtower on Xiangyang Palace lies shrouded aloft

The mansions and terraces of the Six States gaudy and decked out

As for myself, I am now a drunken king

Who couldn’t care less about Qin’s lakes, mountains and such things.

Spring Wind        春风

春风虽自好,  chūn fēng suī zì hǎo;hào,

春物太昌昌。  chūn wù tài chāng chāng。

若教春有意,  ruò jiào;jiāo chūn  yǒu yì,

惟遣一枝芳。  wéi qiǎn yī zhī fāng。

我意殊春意,  wǒ yì shū  chūn yì,

先春已断肠。  xiān chūn yǐ  duàn cháng。


Although the spring wind does me good,

Too many things blossom, as Spring allows

Although the season shares a certain charm

Just send me one fragrant bough

For me Spring’s charm has fallen apart

For at its beginning I already had a broken heart


Early Rising           早起

风露澹清晨,  fēng lù;lòu dàn  qīng chén,

帘间独起人。  lián jiān;jiàn;xiàn dú qǐ rén。

莺花啼又笑,  yīng huā tí yòu xiào,

毕竟是谁春。  bì jìng shì shuí chūn。

The early morning breeze is clear and fresh

Alone, she wakes up behind the curtain

The flowers laugh as the orioles cry,

This Spring is for whom, she sighs


Below the Cherry Blossoms          樱桃花下

流莺舞蝶两相欺,  liú yīng wǔ dié liǎng xiàng;xiāng qī,

不取花芳正结时。  bù qǔ huā fāng zhèng;zhēng jié;jiē shí。

他日未开今日谢,  tā rì wèi kāi  jīn rì xiè,

嘉辰长短是参差。  jiā chén  cháng duǎn shì  cēn cī。

You deceive both the swooping oriole and the dancing butterfly

They don’t gather you up as your white crowns form

Thank today that you didn’t open then

Noble spirits always ebb and flow

The Mocking Peach      嘲桃


无赖夭桃面,  wú lài yāo táo miàn,

平时露井东。  píng shí lù;lòu jǐng dōng。

春风为开了,  chūn fēng wèi;wéi kāi le;liǎo;liào,

却拟笑春风。  què nǐ xiào  chūn fēng。


What a rascal with a pallid face you are

Brightly shining to the east of the open well

You open your flowers for the rush of spring

Yet prepare to mock just what it brings


When The First Bamboo Shoots Emerge At The Start Of The Feast初食笋呈座中

嫩箨香苞初出林,  nèn tuò xiāng bāo chū chū lín,

於陵论价重如金。  yū;yú;wū líng lùn jià zhòng;chóng rú jīn。

皇都陆海应无数,  huáng dōu;dū lù hǎi yīng;yìng  wú shù,

忍剪凌云一寸心。  rěn jiǎn  líng yún yī  cùn xīn。

Tender shoots, fragrant, first bud in the forest

At Wuling their value is greater than gold

The Capitol has seas and lands that are limitless

How can one cut inches into a heart[28] that soars?


To Goddess Gouwang             赠句芒神

佳期不定春期赊,  jiā qī  bù dìng chūn qī shē,

春物夭阏兴咨嗟。  chūn wù  yāo yān xìng;xīng zī jiē;juē。

愿得句芒索青女,  yuàn dé;děi;de jù máng suǒ qīng nǚ,

不教容易损年华。  bù jiào;jiāo  róng yì sǔn  nián huá。

The best of times is not when Spring is beginning or ending

When the world seems to slow, to gasps of alarm

Hope that Gouwang seeks out the Ice Queen

Otherwise, how easily we may lose Spring’s bloom


In the Style of Poet Li He                 效长吉

长长汉殿眉,cháng;zhǎng cháng;zhǎng hàn diàn méi,

窄窄楚宫衣。zhǎi zhǎi chǔ gōng yì;yī。

镜好鸾空舞,jìng hǎo;hào luán kōng wǔ,

帘疏燕误飞。lián shū yàn wù fēi。

君王不可问,jūn wáng  bù kě wèn,

昨夜约黄归。zuó yè yuē;yāo huáng guī。

Long, so long her eyebrows, as in the Han Temple

Narrow, so narrow the dress, as in the Chu Palace

In the fine mirror the luan[29] dances without passion

On the crumpled drapes the swallow crazily flies

The emperor cannot know but

Last night, she returned in yellow makeup


On Cold Food Festival  While Traveling to  Lengquan Staging Post 寒食行次冷泉驿

驿途仍近节,  yì tú réng jìn jié,

旅宿倍思家。  lǚ sù;xiǔ bèi sī jiā。

独夜三更月,  dú yè  sān gēng yuè,

空庭一树花。  kōng tíng yī shù huā。

介山当驿秀,  jiè shān dāng;dàng yì xiù,

汾水绕关斜。  fén shuǐ rào guān xié。

自怯春寒苦,  zì qiè  chūn hán kǔ,

那堪禁火赊。  nà;nèi kān  jìn huǒ shē。

By the station road, close to the Festival

In the Inn,  I think of home

Lonely, at the third lunar hour[30]

Empty halls, on the tree a flower

From Jie Mountain to the Post Station is lovely country

The river splits around the Pass

Myself, I tremble at the hardships of Spring

That coming crucible of bitterness and fire


For Official Zhao While Briefly Posted At Xielu        赠赵协律皙

俱识孙公与谢公,  jù;jū shí sūn gōng yǔ xiè gōng,

二年歌哭处还同。  èr nián gē kū chù;chǔ hái;huán tóng;tòng。

已叨邹马声华末,  yǐ dāo zōu mǎ  shēng huá mò,

更共刘卢族望通。  gèng;gēng gòng liú lú zú wàng tōng。

南省恩深宾馆在,  nán shěng;xǐng ēn shēn  bīn guǎn zài,

东山事往妓楼空。  dōng shān shì wǎng;wàng jì lóu kōng。

不堪岁暮相逢地,  bù kān  suì mù  xiāng féng dì;de,

我欲西征君又东。  wǒ yù xī zhēng jūn yòu dōng。

I got know officials Sun and Xie

We sang and suffered for two years.

Already unworthy of even a little of Master Zhou’s fame

I served a great family like Liu Lu’s

Mr He of Southern district showed great kindness when I stayed there

At East Mountain great matters left the red mansions bare

At the end of the year, one hates these meeting places

As I head for the Western Capitol and you, my friend, go east


The Hanging Sky        钧天

上帝钧天会众灵,  shàng dì jūn tiān huì;kuài zhòng líng,

昔人因梦到青冥。  xī rén yīn  mèng dào  qīng míng。

伶伦吹裂孤生竹,  líng lún chuī liè gū shēng zhú,

却为知音不得听。  què wèi;wéi  zhī yīn  bù dé tīng。

From God the sky hangs, the celestial convocation[31] gathers

In the past a dream led to visions of a heavenly feast

The flutes of Linglun Palace would split the lonely bamboos[32]

Why keep the sounds from those who want to know?


The Plum Flowers At Master Zizhe’s Jinchang Home    子直晋昌李花

吴馆何时熨,  wú guǎn  hé shí yùn;yù,

秦台几夜熏。  qín tái jǐ;jī yè xūn。

绡轻谁解卷,  xiāo qīng shuí jiě juǎn;juàn,

香异自先闻。  xiāng yì zì xiān wén。

月里谁无姊,  yuè lǐ shuí wú zǐ,

云中亦有君。  yún zhōng yì yǒu jūn。

樽前见飘荡,  zūn qián jiàn;xiàn  piāo dàng,

愁极客襟分。  chóu jí kè jīn fēn。

When will the silk skirt in Wu Palace open

Spreading its perfume over Qin Terrace night after night?

Who unfolds the layers of light silk?

Only I first recognize the strange scent

On the moon, who will be Chang E’s little sister

Or travel with the Cloud Goddess on her rounds?

We are like blossoms drifting before my wine cup

It hurts so much that my guest will just split his tunic and leave



The Willows By the Pass        关门柳

永定河边一行柳,  yǒng dìng  hé biān  yī xíng liǔ,

依依长发故年春。  yī yī cháng;zhǎng fā;fà gù nián chūn。

东来西去人情薄,  dōng lái xī qù  rén qíng bò;báo;bó,

不为清阴减路尘。  bù wèi;wéi qīng yīn jiǎn lù chén。

The willows stand in a row by Yongding river

Year after year, luxuriously growing each spring

From the east to the west, one passes by with light fancies

Not dismounting from the dusty road to enjoy their cool shade.



Sunset Tower               夕阳楼

花明柳暗绕天愁,  huā míng liǔ àn rào tiān chóu,

上尽重城更上楼。  shàng jìn;jǐn zhòng;chóng chéng gèng;gēng shàng lóu。

欲问孤鸿向何处,  yù wèn gū hóng  xiàng hé chù,

不知身世自悠悠。  bù zhī  shēn shì zì  yōu yōu。


Flower bright, whispering willows, circled by troubled skies

I struggle up to the tall city, even to the lofty tower[33]

To ask the wild goose where he flies

Even as I blindly drift through this mortal world


 Stone City            石城

石城夸窈窕,  shí chéng kuā  yǎo tiǎo,

花县更风流。  huā xiàn gèng;gēng  fēng liú。

簟冰将飘枕,  diàn bīng jiāng;jiàng piāo zhěn,

帘烘不隐钩。  lián hōng bù yǐn gōu。

玉童收夜钥,  yù tóng shōu yè yào,

金狄守更筹。  jīn dí shǒu gèng;gēng chóu。

共笑鸳鸯绮,  gòng xiào  yuān yāng qǐ,

鸳鸯两白头。  yuān yāng liǎng  bái tóu。

Gorgeous is Stone city

As wild and romantic as Flower County

Cool reeds form wavy pillows

Under candlelight, nothing is hidden beneath the curtain hooks

Jade maidens receive the keys to the night

The clock’s copper watchman marshals his resources

Pleasant all the mandarin duck[34] weaved bedspreads

May the two ducks grow a white head of hair!


Two Poems for the Singing Lady    赠歌妓二首

水精如意玉连环,  shuǐ jīng  rú yì yù  lián huán,

下蔡城危莫破颜。  xià cài chéng wēi mò  pò yán。

红绽樱桃含白雪,  hóng zhàn  yīng táo hán bái xuě,

断肠声里唱阳关。  duàn cháng shēng lǐ chàng yáng guān。

白日相思可奈何,  bái rì  xiāng sī kě  nài hé,

严城清夜断经过。  yán chéng qīng yè duàn  jīng guò。

只知解道春来瘦,  zhī;zhǐ zhī jiě dào chūn lái shòu,

不道春来独自多。  bù dào chūn lái  dú zì duō。

First poem


The  water crystal sways with the jade necklace

The perilous walls of Xiacai City buckles at her smile

The red cherry bursts open in the white snow[35]

One’s heart breaks at the sound of the  .


Second Poem


During the day how can I think of you?

Even the clear moonlight is blocked by the city’s garrison walls

You only know that I am as thin as brushwood when spring arrives

You do not know how many lonely places I have been


Moon                  月

过水穿楼触处明,  guò shuǐ chuān lóu  chù chù míng,

藏人带树远含清。  zàng rén dài shù yuǎn hán qīng。

初生欲缺虚惆怅,  chū shēng yù quē xū  chóu chàng,

未必圆时即有情。  wèi bì yuán shí jí  yǒu qíng。

Over the water, enveloping the towers, touching places with light

People are hidden, a belt of trees, distant places so clear

At first, it seeks and falters, to dispel the empty and forlorn

When full, who knows what sort of relief it will bring?


Outside the City         城外


露寒风定不无情,  lù;lòu  hán fēng dìng bù  wú qíng,

临水当山又隔城。  lín shuǐ dāng;dàng shān yòu gé chéng。

未必明时胜蚌蛤,  wèi bì míng shí shèng;shēng bàng há;gé,

一生长共月亏盈。  yī shēng cháng;zhǎng gòng  yuè kuī yíng。

It appears a cool wind is not always indifferent, without pity

Overlooking the water, I climb the mountains away from the City

Unlike the toad and clam[36], there is no guarantee how my tomorrow will go

Their long life depends on how much the moon ebbs and flows


Rest in Peace Dear Mentor         安平公诗

丈人博陵王名家,  zhàng rén bó líng wáng  míng jiā,

怜我总角称才华。  lián wǒ  zǒng jiǎo chèn  cái huá。

华州留语晓至暮,  huā;huá zhōu liú yǔ;yù xiǎo zhì mù,

高声喝吏放两衙。  gāo shēng hē lì fàng liǎng yá。

明朝骑马出城外,  míng zhāo  qí mǎ chū chéng wài,

送我习业南山阿。  sòng wǒ xí yè  nán shān ā;ē。

仲子延岳年十六,  zhòng zǐ yán yuè nián  shí liù,

面如白玉欹乌纱。  miàn rú bái yù yī wū shā。

其弟炳章犹两丱,  qí dì bǐng zhāng yóu liǎng guàn,

瑶林琼树含奇花。  yáo lín qióng shù hán qí;jī huā。

陈留阮家诸侄秀,  chén liú ruǎn jiā zhū zhí xiù,

逦迤出拜何骈罗。  lǐ yí chū bài hé pián luó;luō。

府中从事杜与李,  fǔ zhōng  cóng shì dù yǔ lǐ,

麟角虎翅相过摩。  lín jiǎo hǔ chì xiàng;xiāng guò mó。

清词孤韵有歌响,  qīng cí gū yùn yǒu gē xiǎng,

击触钟磬鸣环珂。  jī chù zhōng qìng míng huán kē。

三月石堤冻销释,  sān yuè shí dī dòng xiāo shì,

东风开花满阳坡。  dōng fēng  kāi huā mǎn  yáng pō。

时禽得伴戏新木,  shí qín dé;děi;de bàn xì xīn mù,

其声尖咽如鸣梭。  qí shēng jiān yàn;yè;yān rú míng suō。

公时载酒领从事,  gōng shí zài jiǔ lǐng  cóng shì,

踊跃鞍马来相过。  yǒng yuè  ān mǎ lái xiàng;xiāng guò。

仰看楼殿撮清汉,  yǎng kàn;kān lóu diàn cuō qīng hàn,

坐视世界如恒沙。  zuò shì  shì jiè rú héng shā。

面热脚掉互登陟,  miàn rè jiǎo diào hù dēng zhì,

青云表柱白云崖。  qīng yún biǎo zhù bái  yún yá。

一百八句在贝叶,  yī bǎi bā jù zài bèi yè,

三十三天长雨花。  sān shí sān tiān cháng;zhǎng yǔ huā。

长者子来辄献盖,  zhǎng zhě zǐ lái zhé xiàn gě;gài,

辟支佛去空留靴。  pì;bì zhī fú;fó qù kōng liú xuē。

公时受诏镇东鲁,  gōng shí shòu zhào zhèn;chēn dōng lǔ,

遣我草诏随车牙。  qiǎn wǒ cǎo zhào suí chē yá。

顾我下笔即千字,  gù wǒ  xià bǐ jí qiān zì,

疑我读书倾五车。  yí wǒ  dú shū qīng wǔ chē。

呜呼大贤苦不寿,  wū hū  dà xián kǔ bù shòu,

时世方士无灵砂。  shí shì  fāng shì wú líng shā。

五月至止六月病,  wǔ yuè zhì zhǐ  liù yuè bìng,

遽颓泰山惊逝波。  jù tuí  tài shān jīng shì bō。

明年徒步吊京国,  míng nián  tú bù diào jīng guó,

宅破子毁哀如何。  zhái pò zǐ huǐ āi;yǐ  rú hé。

西风冲户卷素帐,  xī fēng chōng hù juǎn;juàn sù zhàng,

隙光斜照旧燕窠。  xì guāng xié  zhào jiù yàn kē。

古人常叹知己少,  gǔ rén cháng tàn  zhī jǐ shǎo;shào,

况我沦贱艰虞多。  kuàng wǒ lún jiàn jiān yú duō。

如公之德世一二,  rú gōng zhī dé shì  yī èr,

岂得无泪如黄河。  qǐ  dé wú lèi rú  huáng hé。

沥胆咒愿天有眼,  lì dǎn zhòu yuàn tiān yǒu yǎn,

君子之泽方滂沱。  jūn zi zhī zé fāng  pāng tuó。

The elder was a blue blood of the Bo Lingwang clan

He affectionately called me of the childish tufts ‘the talented one’

At Huazhou his voice resounded from morning to evening

When he twice performed censor duties his high voice seemed to sing

On clear mornings, he would ride his horse out of the city

Inviting me to study classes of the Southern Mountain ditties

His second son was sixteen years old

A face like white jade with a crow embroidered hat worn to the side, quite bold

The other son, Bing Zhang had two horn hair tufts

And was like strange flowers filling a jasper forest of precious lairs

The Ruan family nephews of the Chenliu office were talented

With respect, in unbroken ranks, to his work they attended

In the group’s subordinates official Di and Master Li

The unicorn’s horn and the tiger’s[37] wing, sat close, alike to a tee

Clear poems and sad rhymes would abound

Pealing bells and precious pendants lightly sound

In March the stone froze where the embankment loomed


Verlag: BookRix GmbH & Co. KG

Tag der Veröffentlichung: 06.07.2020
ISBN: 978-3-7487-4869-4

Alle Rechte vorbehalten

To My Beloved Partner Liu Xue Hua

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