And I choose to put away from me every worldly matter

Qiwu Qian

A BOAT IN SPRING ON RUOYA LAKE

Thoughtful elation has no end:

Onward I bear it to whatever come.

And my boat and I, before the evening breeze

Passing flowers, entering the lake,

Turn at nightfall toward the western valley,

Where I watch the south star over the mountain

And a mist that rises, hovering soft,

And the low moon slanting through the trees;

And I choose to put away from me every worldly matter

And only to be an old man with a fishing-pole.


Chang Jian

AT WANG CHANGLIN’ S RETREAT

 

Here, beside a clear deep lake,

You live accompanied by clouds;

Or soft through the pine the moon arrives

To be your own pure-hearted friend.

You rest under thatch in the shadow of your flowers,

Your dewy herbs flourish in their bed of moss.

Let me leave the world. Let me

alight, like you,

On your western mountain with phoenixes and cranes.


Cen Can

ASCENDING THE PAGODA AT THE TEMPLE OF KIND

FAVOUR WITH GAO SHI AND XUE JU

 

The pagoda, rising abruptly from earth,

Reaches to the very Palace of Heaven….

Climbing, we seem to have left the world behind us,

With the steps we look down on hung from space.

It overtops a holy land

And can only have been built by toil of the spirit.

Its four sides darken the bright sun,

Its seven stories cut the grey clouds;

Birds fly down beyond our sight,

And the rapid wind below our hearing;

Mountain-ranges, toward the east,

Appear to be curving and flowing like rivers;

Far green locust-trees line broad roads

Toward clustered palaces and mansions;

Colours of autumn, out of the west,

Enter advancing through the city;

And northward there lie, in five graveyards,

Calm forever under dewy green grass,

Those who know life’s final meaning

Which all humankind must learn.

…Henceforth I put my official hat aside.

To find the Eternal Way is the only happiness.