Passionate Chinese Poetry I Love

Autumn Wind
The autumn wind blows white clouds
About the sky. Grass turns brown.
Leaves fall. Wild geese fly south.
The last flowers bloom, orchids
And chrysanthemums with their
Bitter perfume. I dream of
That beautiful face I can
Never forget. I go for
A trip on the river. The barge
Rides the current and dips with
The white capped waves. They play flutes
And drums, and the rovers sing.
I am happy for a moment
And then the sorrow comes back.
I was young only a little while,
And now I am growing old.
-The Emperor Wu of Han

All Year Long
We break off a branch of poplar catkins
A hundred birds sing in the tree.
Lying beneath it in the garden,
We talk to each other
Our tongues in each other’s mouths.
The sultry air is heavy with flower perfumes
What is there better to do this hot night
That throw off the covers
And lie together naked?
A cold wind blows open the window.
The moon looks in, full and bright.
Not a sound,
Not a voice,
In the night.
Then from behind the bed curtains,
Two giggles.
A freezing sky.
The year ends.
Icy winds whirl the snowflakes.
Under the covers
My darling is hotter than midsummer night
-Anonymous (Six Dynasties)

Nightfall. He jumped over the hedge.
Daybreak. He opened the gate and went out.
He has taken his pleasure,
And thinks no more of me.
-Anonymous (Six Dynasties)

Deep Night
Deep night. I cannot sleep.
I get up and sing softly to my lute.
Moonlight glows in the gauze curtains.
I open my nightgown, and let
The fresh air bathe my body.
A lonely wild goose cries out
In the distant meadow.
A night bird flies calling through the trees.
I come and go without rest.
What do I gain by it?
My mind is distracted by worries
That will never cease.
My heart is all bruised
By the troubled ghosts who haunt it.
-Yuan Chi

Freezing Night
The night is full of storm clouds.
Overhead the wild geese are frightened,
And cry out with anxiety in the murky darkness.
The icy hills are covered with dense fog.
The only thing visible
Is a beautiful shadow on a gleaming gauze window curtain.
Above the clouds the white moon is cold.
Under the clouds the storm wind is cold.
Heart full of sorrow,
Tears dried up with sorrow,
The unbearable sorrow,
Of a heart filled with love-
How can I go on under the beating storm of my thoughts?
-T’ao Hung Ching (T’ao T’ung Ming)

Water Lilies Bloom
Water lilies bloom on the Great River.
Brilliant red on the green water.
Their color is the same as our hearts.
Their roots branch off.
Ours cannot be seperated.
-The Emperor Wu of Liang

All Poems Translated by Kenneth Rexroth


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