Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #10

The first days after the fields are planted,
Peasant families all walk the river bank.
Young boys show off their strength,
Seeing who can climb the tallest trees.
Young girls sit with their mothers,
On bamboo mats in the grass.
Five old men sit on a rotten log,
Drinking cool wine and talking about the past.
All our sorrows and suffering,
Are merely paths to moments like these.

-龙火花 Long HuoHua

Born Approx AD820 – Died AD895
Timeline Of Major Events During Long’s Life:

AD840 – Earliest known poems by Long
841 – Yu XuanJi is Born
846 – Bai JuYi dies
848 – Emperor Wuzong persecutes Buddhists, Shuts down temples across empire.
858 – Major flood killing tens of thousands (including XinMei) and destabilizing dynasty
863 – Long Starts affair with Yu XuanJi
866 – Long gets sent on official duty to Chongqing
867 – Yu XuanJi is Executed
875 – Huang Chao’s Rebellion
881 – Huang Chao Captures Chang’An
883 – Capitol retaken, Huang Chao Rebellion Ends
883 – Tang Dynasty Starts Decline
895 – Long HuoHua Dies
AD907 – Tang Dynasty Falls


Lord Byron – Stanzas To The Po

Stanzas To The Po

River, that rollest by the ancient walls,
Where dwells the lady of my love, when she
Walks by thy brink, and there perchance recalls
A faint and fleeting memory of me;

What if thy deep and ample stream should be
A mirror of my heart, where she may read
The thousand thoughts I now betray to thee,
Wild as thy wave, and headlong as thy speed!

What do I say -a mirror of my heart?
Are not thy waters sweeping, dark, and strong?
Such as my feelings were and are, thou art;
And such as thou art were my passions long.

Time may have somewhat tamed them, -not for ever;
Thou overflow’st thy banks, and not for aye
The bosom overboils, congenial river!
Thy floods subside, and mine have sunk away.

But left long wrecks behind, and now again,
Born in our old unchanged career, we move;
Thou tendest wildly onwards to the main,
And I -to loving one I should not love.

The current I behold will sweep beneath
Her native walls and murmur at her feet;
Her eyes will look on thee, when she shall breathe
The twilight air, unharmed by summer’s heat.

She will look on thee, -I have looked on thee,
Full of that thought; and, from that moment, ne’er
Thy waters could I dream of, name, or see,
Without the inseparable sigh for her!

Her bright eyes will be imaged in thy stream, –
Yes! they will meet the wave I gaze on now:
Mine cannot witness, even in a dream,
That happy wave repass me in its flow!

The wave that bears my tears returns no more:
Will she return by whom that wave shall sweep?
Both tread thy banks, both wander on thy shore,
I by thy source, she by the dark-blue deep.

But that which keepeth us apart is not
Distance, nor depth of wave, nor space of earth,
But the distraction of a various lot,
As various as the climates of our birth.

A stranger loves the lady of the land,
Born far beyond the mountains, but his blood
Is all meridian, as if never fanned
By the black wind that chills the polar flood.

My blood is all meridian; were it not,
I had not left my clime, nor should I be,
In spite of tortures, ne’er to be forgot,
A slave again of love, -at least of thee.

‘Tis vain to struggle -let me perish young –
Live as I lived, and love as I have loved;
To dust if I return, from dust I sprung,
And then, at least, my heart can ne’er be moved.

Lord George Gordon Byron

Beautiful Barbarian Love Song

To The Tune: Beautiful Barbarian

The peonies are heavy with dew.
She pauses in the court to pick a flower,

Then coyly asks her lover,
“Which do you think most pretty?”

Because he likes to tease,
he says, “I think perhaps the flower.”

She pretends offense in any case,
crushes it, and throws it in his face.

-Unknown (Song Dynasty A.D. 960-1200)

Love Song

Clouds circle the moon,
breezes ringing wind chimes,
deepening my doubt.

I lit the lamp to write
my broken heart for you.
My sobbing blew it out.

-Ma Chih-yuan (1260-1324)

Sundown Song

It’s when the descending sun
Is level with the curtain hook

That spring along this river
Is at its very best.

Good smells surround the gardens
Along the riverbank

A column of smoke from the beach
Where boatmen cook their dinners

Steadily chattering sparrows
Fight to roost in the evening trees

Gnats and mayflies swarm
In the air of my front yard

Oh cup of cloudy wine
You too are a gift

A sip or two of you dissolves
All my little worries.

-Tu Fu 760’s A.D.

From David Young’ s translation “Du Fu: A Life in Poetry”
Available on Amazon and if you like Tu Fu then I can’t recommend it enough. Best translations since Rexroth.

End Of April Poetry


It’s been said
That I am a romantic
And this, from time to time, may be true
But tonight
I am a cynic
I am Bukowski
Driving around Los Angeles in the rain
With tears in his eyes
And a broken heart
But it’s hard to find anything
When it’s always dark
And always raining

Like Atlas

Every time I go it alone
I end up on my knees
Crawling helplessly through the night
Looking for my bed
Where I can brace myself
And whisper words
Toward my heart
Toward the sky
Toward Jerusalem
Whispers of desperation.
I foolishly act like Atlas at times
But I am just a man
And the burden is always to much to bare
I need a divine hand

The Wild Within

You are like the wild
Dangerous and vast
And I wish to get lost in you.
You are a river
That flows around my heart
You sweep me away
You make the banks of my heart
Spring forth with life
And in the wild
Or within you
My head and my heart
Are made new.