Songs of Love, Moon, & Wind: Poems from the Chinese (New Directions Paperbook)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
“Nothing stands still in this poetry: the wind blows the trees, the lake water ripples and the ever-present road runs in and out of the hills.”―American Poetry Review
Moss covered paths between scarlet peonies,
Pale jade mountains fill your rustic windows.
I envy you, drunk with flowers,
Butterflies swirling in your dreams.
This exquisite gift book offers a wide sampling of Chinese verse, from the first century to our own time, beginning with the lyric poetry of Tu Fu, moving to the folk songs of the Six Dynasties Period, on to the Sung Dynasty, and to the present. Also represented are some of the best-known women of Chinese poetry, including Li Ching-chao and Chu Shu-chen. These simple, accessible but profound poems come through to us with a breathtaking immediacy in Kenneth Rexroth’s English versions―a wonderful gift for any lover of poetry.
like flower Petals. Now today the petals Seem like snow. FAN YUN COUNTRY COTTAGE A peasant’s shack beside the Clear river, the rustic gate Opens on a deserted road. Weeds grow over the public well. I loaf in my old clothes. Willow Branches sway. Flowering trees Perfume the air. The sun sets Behind a flock of cormorants, Drying their black wings along the pier. TU FU TO THE TUNE "GLITTERING SWORD HILTS" I have always been sorry Our words were so trivial And never matched the
moment And then the old sorrow comes back. I was young only a little while, And now I am growing old. EMPEROR WU OF HAN SORROW Heaven took my wife. Now it Has also taken my son. My eyes are not allowed a Dry season. It is too much For my heart. I long for death. When the rain falls and enters The earth, when a pearl drops into The depth of the sea, you can Dive in the sea and find the Pearl, you can dig in the earth And find the water. But no one Has ever come back from the
RIVER In the fog we drift hither And yon over the dark waves. At last our little boat finds Shelter under a willow bank. At midnight I am awake, Heavy with wine. The smoky Lamp is still burning. The rain Is still sighing in the bamboo Thatch of the cabin of the boat. LU YU SPRING FADES Spring fades. Why should I suffer so much from homesickness? I am ill. Combing my long hair exasperates me. Under the roof beams the swallows chatter too much all day long. A soft breeze fills the
the reach of man. HSIEH LING-YÜN SNOW STORM Tumult, weeping, many new ghosts. Heartbroken, aging, alone, I sing To myself. Ragged mist settles In the spreading dusk. Snow skurries In the coiling wind. The wineglass Is spilled. The bottle is empty. The fire has gone out in the stove. Everywhere men speak in whispers. I brood on the uselessness of letters. TU FU TO THE TUNE "THE BODHISATTVA'S HEADDRESS" The cries of returning wild geese Are stilled as the strands of the cloud Turn
comes early to the gardens Of the South, with dancing flowers. The gentle breeze carries the sound Of horses whinnying. The blue Green plums are already as large As beans. The willow leaves are long, And really are curved like a girl’s Eyebrows. Butterflies whirl in the Long sunlight. In the evening the Mist lies heavy on the flowers. The grass is covered with dew. Girls in their transparent dresses, Indolent and lascivious, Lounge in their hammocks. Swallows, two By two, nest under