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SELECTION OF POEMS BY LU YOU

by Lu You (1125 - 1210, Song Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang and You Zai

AS SPRING RAIN CLEARS UP IN LINAN

Tastes of mundane affairs across the years
thinning away like a layer of gossamer,

Yet who had actually put me on that horse
headed for the bustling capital?

Listening to a night’s pitter-patter
of the spring rain from a small lodge,

When morning comes, apricot flower stalls
begin business behind deep quiet valleys.

Leisurely running my cursive script
across small and tilted pieces of paper,

Pleasantly grading teas by their silky froth
in front of the clear window view.

Lament not over this unadorned outfit
being tainted by mundane dusts,

Home will be within reach by
the time Qingming* arrives.


RANDOM SCRIBBLE IN THE TEMPLE

After a long stay,
the temple feels warm as spring,

The paper blanket,
quiet and white as cloud;

Other than releasing lives
and distributing medicine,

There are no more matters
that shall trouble this king of heaven.


VERSE ON ABSTAINING FROM KILLING

Bloody flesh in return for delicious food;

It is difficult to express their fears and agonies.

Putting oneself in their shoes,

Who is willing to have a knife cutting one’s body?

── from Jiannan Shigao (Collation and Annotation on Jiannan Poetry Drafts) and others


*Also known as Tomb Sweeping Day.