Home | 365 Days for Travelers

THE RIVER IS RED
by Bai Pu (1226 - 1306)
English translation: William Chong

Travelling throughout Jiangnan, yet only
the lush mountain kept me from going my way.

Amongst relatives and friends,
the funeral march played in their prime,
Many a goodbye I said.

Times changed before I ended a game of chess,
Rivers bloodstained at the end of every battle.

I can only lament the past,
when Yueyang Pavillion was full of songs and dance;
the end of all that bustling prosperity.

Days are short in winter, clouds gather in despair.
Old fortresses stand desolate,
what remains of the moon hangs solitarily in the sky.

Listen to that joyful banter amongst the commoners,
discussing who are the heroes of the day.

Rain fell as I woke from
my light sleep to change my posture,
Snow came as my boat floated across the Yangtze River.

For life’s pleasure, head to Yangzhou in March, I say.

── from Tianlai Ji (Collection on Heavenly Voices)


SAILING AT NIGHT, AUTUMN THOUGHTS (EXCERPT)
by Ma Zhiyuan (1250 - 1321, Yuan Dynasty)
English translation: You Zai and William Chong

Living a hundred years of life, Just like dreaming to be a butterfly; Looking at the past, one cannot help but sigh; Today, we welcome the beginning of Spring, Tomorrow, we see the flowers wither; Quickly finishing up the wine, As night falls, the lights burn out.


WIND FROM FALLING PLUMS

The heavens endowed you with affluence, do not hanker for more. Good times will be gone in but a while. You slaves to your riches, with your hearts hard as steel, do injustice to the beautiful view from your mansion.

── from Dongli Yuefu (The Eastern Fence Poetry)


LEISURE
Tune: Four Pieces of Jade
by Guan Hanqing (Years unknown, Yuan Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

Ploughing in the South,
Reclining in the East,
Much of life experienced,
Past events I leisurely reminisce,
Let him be the sage, and I the ignorant,
Why fight over it?

── from Guan Hanqing Quanji (Complete Works of Guan Hanqing)


IN A DREAM
by Zheng Guangzu (Years unknown, Yuan Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

In my ragged leather coat, I ride my saddled horse into the dust with a whip as flimsy as reed catkins. Bows and arrows idle as I head straight into the twilight. The traveler’s sentiment stirs as the western wind sweeps across the grains and water weeds on the autumn lake. At dusk, the old trees are decorated by crows like thousands of black spots. In rows of two and three, like strips across the borderless sky, wild geese dive across the sand. West to the windy coast sits a fishing boat, waves lapping against its nets and fishing gear. East to the broken bridge lies a row of bamboo fence around a few thatched cottages. Across whole mountains and valleys, I see crimson leaves and yellow flowers. In the moment of misery, the departed are once again at the corners of the world. ── from

── from Dongli Yuefu (The Eastern Fence Poetry)