I have seen a road that wanders in green shade, that runs through sweet fields of flowers. My eyes have traveled there, and journeyed far along that cool fine road. But I will never really walk that road; it does not really lead to where she lives. When she was born, they bound her little feet with leather bands; my beloved never walks the road of shade and flowers. When she was born, they bound her little heart with leather bands; my beloved never listens to my song. ~Anonymous (cited: Various Authors, The Jade Flute Chinese Poems in Prose. The Project Gutenberg
Looking backward ... I cannot see the ancients of days. Looking forward ... I cannot see ages yet to come. Only heaven and earth have remained, And will remain forever ... I am alone, I grieve, I drop tears into the dust ~Chen Tzu-ang
(cited: Trans: Anonymous, The Jade Flute Chinese Poems in Prose. The Project Gutenberg
On and on, always on and on Away from you, parted by a life-parting. Going from one another ten thousand “li,” Each in a different corner of the World. The way between is difficult and long, Face to face how shall we meet again? The Tartar horse prefers the North wind, The bird from Yüeh nests on the Southern branch. Since we parted the time is already long, Daily my clothes hang looser round my waist. Floating clouds obscure the white sun, The wandering one has quite forgotten home. Thinking of you has made me suddenly old, The months and years swiftly draw to their close. I’ll put you out of my mind and forget for ever And try with all my might to eat and thrive.*
*cited: Trans: Arthur Waley, Project Gutenberg A Hundred and Seventy Poems. Note: The above poem is from a series known as the Nineteen Pieces of Old Poetry. Some have been attributed to Mei Shēng (first century b.c.), and one to Fu I (first century a.d.).
Image and poem submitted in response to Travel with Intent’s Six Word Challenge
The Plum-blossom is the first of the “hundred flowers” to open. It symbolizes the beginnings of things, and is also one of the “three friends” who do not fear Winter’s cold, the other two being the pine and the bamboo.
cited: Fir-Flower Tablets Poems Translated from the Chinese Trans: Florence Ayscough & Amy Lowell Project Gutenberg
A Winter night, a cold Winter night. To me, the night is unending.
I chant heavily to myself a long time. I sit, sit in the North Hall.
The water in the well is solid with ice. The moon enters the Women’s Apartments.
The flame of the gold lamp is very small, the oil is frozen. It shines on the misery of my weeping. ~Li t’ai-Poa Woman Sings to the Air: “Sitting at Night Fir-Flower”
excerpt: Trans: Florence Ayscough & Amy Lowell Fir-Flower Tablets Poems Translated from the Chinese Project Gutenberg
First snow! I see it young every winter,
Yet my face grows old
As Winter comes. ~ The Diary of Izumi Shikibu
cited: Trans: Annie Shepley Omori & Kochi Doi Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan
This week’s lens-artists photo challenge – winter – is sponsored by Leya
In the courtyard there grows a strange tree,
Its green leaves ooze with a fragrant moisture.
Holding the branch I cut a flower from the tree,
Meaning to send it away to the person I love.
Its sweet smell fills my sleeves and lap.
The road is long, how shall I get it there?
Such a thing is not fine enough to send:
But it may remind him of the time that has past since he left
cited: Trans: Arthur Waley. A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems, Project Gutenberg
Note: The poem above is one of a series known as the Nineteen Pieces of Old Poetry. Some have been attributed to Mei Shēng (first century b.c.), and one to Fu I (first century a.d.).
This week’s lens-artists challenge (spring) is hosted by Tina
There was once a man who dreamt he went to Heaven:
His dream-body soared aloft through space.
He rode on the back of a white-plumed crane,
And was led on his flight by two crimson banners.
Whirring of wings and flapping of coat tails!
Jade bells suddenly all a-tinkle!
Half way to Heaven, he looked down beneath him,
Down on the dark turmoil of the World.
Gradually he lost the place of his native town…
cited: Trans: Arthur Waley, A hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems. Project Gutenberg. This ebook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at http://gutenberg.net.au/license.html.
65th day of self isolation
Skyscape photograph Nikon D750 f/8 1/80s 92 mm 400 ISO edited: Capture One 20
*Po Chü’s (AD 772-846) poem is an attack on the Emperor Hsien-tsung, a.d. 806-820, who “was devoted to magic.” A Taoist wizard told him that herbs of longevity grew near the city of T’ai-chou. The Emperor at once appointed him prefect of the place, “pour lui permettre d’herboriser plus à son aise” (Wieger, Textes III, 1723). When the censors protested, the Emperor replied: “The ruin of a single district would be a small price to pay, if it could procure longevity for the Lord of Men.”
XV. 2. A Dream of T’ien-mu Mountain
(Part of a Poem in Irregular Metre.)
On through the night I flew, high over the Mirror Lake. The lake-moon cast my shadow on the waves and travelled with me to the stream of Shan. The Lord Hsieh’s* lodging-place was still there. The blue waters rippled; the cry of the apes was shrill. I shod my feet with the shoes of the Lord Hsieh and “climbed to Heaven on a ladder of dark clouds.”** Half-way up, I saw the unrisen sun hiding behind the sea and heard the Cock of Heaven crowing in the sky. By a thousand broken paths I twisted and turned from crag to crag. My eyes grew dim. I clutched at the rocks, and all was dark.
The roaring of bears and the singing of dragons echoed amid the stones and streams. The darkness of deep woods made me afraid. I trembled at the storied cliffs.
The clouds hung dark, as though they would rain; the air was dim with the spray of rushing waters.
Lightning flashed: thunder roared. Peaks and ridges tottered and broke. Suddenly the walls of the hollow where I stood sundered with a crash, and I looked down on a bottomless void of blue, where the sun and moon gleamed on a terrace of silver and gold.
A host of Beings descended—Cloud-spirits, whose coats were made of rainbow and the horses they rode on were the winds.
Skyscape photography at sunset on 63rd day of self isolation Nikon D750 f/8 1/100s 190 mm 400 ISO edited: Capture One 20 & Photoshop
The Poet Li Po, by Arthur Waley and Bai Li The Project Gutenberg ebook
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at http://www.gutenberg.org
*Hsieh Ling-yün (circa a.d. 400) was a famous mountain-climber who invented special mountain-climbing shoes.
**A quotation from one of Hsieh’s poems.
“The Dragon is one of the four spiritually endowed creatures of China, the others being the Unicorn, the Phoenix, and the Tortoise. There are four principal Lung or Dragons–the Celestial Dragon, which supports and guards the mansion of the Gods; the spiritual Dragon, which causes the winds to blow and the rains to fall; the Earth Dragon, which marks out the courses of rivers and streams, and the Dragon of the Hidden Treasure, which watches over wealth concealed from mortals.
“…from a symbol of spiritual power from whom no secrets are hidden this dragon becomes a symbol of the human soul in its divine adventure, ‘climbing aloft on spiral gusts of wind, passing over hills and dreams, treading in the air and soaring higher than the Kwan-lun Mountains, bursting open the Gate of Heaven, and entering the Place of God.'”
Cited: JSTOR, Captain L Cranmer-Byng. Chinese Poetry and its Symbols
Photograph created with Nikon D750 f/8 1/20s 62mm 400 ISO and Capture One 20
The autumn wind is light,
The autumn moon is bright;
Fallen leaves gather but then disperse,
A cold crow roosts but again he stirs;
I think of you, and wonder when I’ll see you again?
At such an hour, on such a night, cruel is love’s pain?
Li Po and Tu Fu
Tu Fu to Tao-Chien Across the Centuries
Gone in a flash the bright flowers.
Old. How I wish they would stay!
Why can’t these present things
Be back in our younger days?
Drinking – sets free the mind
Writing – unfolds the heart
We would meet, Tao, in this thought
Though we cannot meet in time.
~Tu Fu (712-770)