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SILK-WASHER’S CREEK
by Yan Shu (991 - 1055, Song Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

With each new song, I down another cup of wine,
Same as last year’s old pavilion, the weather is fine.
When will the sun return once in the West it sets?
There is no choice but to watch the flowers fade.
Seemingly familiar, the sparrows have come home,
Across fragrant paths of the garden I linger alone.

Such limited days this short life holds,
Regular partings could easily melt our souls.
Refuse not the banquet and songs,
Far off with the mountains and rivers memories begone.
Nothing hurts Spring more than fallen flowers and storms,
It is better to appreciate those right before your eyes.

── from Zhu Yu Ci (Beads of Jade)


PASSING DONGTING
Tune: The Charm of Niannu
by Zhang Xiaoxiang (1132 - 1169, Song Dynasty)
English translation: John Balcom

Dongting Lake, Qingcao Lake,
Near mid-autumn.
Calm; no winds blow.

Thirty thousand acres shimmer with a jade glow,
Carrying my leaflike boat.
The pure moon shines upon it,
The Milky Way casts a shadow.
It is clear and bright inside and out.

With joy, my mind understands,
But this wondrous place is difficult to speak of.

I should remember my years in seas of Linghai,
Illuminating myself with solitary light,
My organs like snow and ice.

Hair sparse, clothing thin and cold;
Steadily my boat proceeds
between the vast sky and the water.

The Xijiang overflows─
Lean on the Big Dipper.
All things are my guests.
Tying the ship off, I laugh, what night is it tonight?

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