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TUNE OF FALLING RAIN

by Liu Yong (987 - 1053, Song Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

As cicadas make bitter and sorrowful rattles,
We come to the pavilion late in the evening,
The sudden downpour slowing to a stop.

Beneath the tent set outside the city gate,
No one was in the mood for a drink.
Though reluctant to leave,
The magnolia boat was rushing to sail.

Holding hands,
Looking into each other’s teary eyes,
Silently choking on our words.
The thought of departure,
Away along a thousand miles of misty water;
Though the evening haze was thick,
The Southern sky was vast,
The romantics have long suffered partings,
Not to mention an autumn this cold and lonely.

Where will I wake up sober after tonight?
Perhaps on the bank of willows,
In the morning breeze beneath the setting moon.
It shall be years after this leave.

In the mean time:
Any good times or pleasant views will be a waste.
Even if there were countless sentiments in my mind,
To whom will I be able to confide?

── from Quan Song Ci (Complete Collection Song Poems)


FLYING MAGPIE AT NIGHT
Tune: The Pearl of Dawn

by Lu Bicheng (1883 - 1943)
English translation: Zhi Yue

Youth indulged in a web of defilements, who can break its chains? Thoroughly understand the twelve links of dependent origination.

Rely also on the Four Noble Truths as a decree, holding a flower* as the symbol of a heart-to-heart transmission.

The wondrous sounds of the kalavinka birds** warn birds of prey that it is difficult to be at ease in a burning home.

Why endure the Black Sea, giving free reign to the strong gale and the raksas*** blasting at the boat?

Contemplate the darkness, the illusory nature of the mind, which rises and falls between heaven and earth.

Recollect cycling through a thousand kalpas, filled with desires and disappearing in smoke. The fruit of an arhat is obtaining non─birth, a trap in disguise. Wearing off when laxed, it is a secret, a small test on the first stage of meditation.

── from Lu Bicheng Ci Xuan (Selection of Poetry by Lu Bicheng)

* The instance where the Buddha held a flower in front of a silent congregation with only Mahakasyapa smiling in return.

** Kalavinka birds possess a human head and a bird’s body, with long flowing tail.

*** Raksas are demons reputed for devouring humans.