This cloud, that has drifted all day through the sky,

Du Fu

This cloud, that has drifted all day through the sky,

May, like a wanderer, never come back….

Three nights now I have dreamed of you —

As tender, intimate and real as though I were awake.

And then, abruptly rising to go,

You told me the perils of adventure

By river and lake-the storms, the wrecks,

The fears that are borne on a little boat;

And, here in my doorway, you rubbed your white head

As if there were something puzzling you.

…Our capital teems with officious people,

While you are alone and helpless and poor.

Who says that the heavenly net never fails?

It has brought you ill fortune, old as you are.

…A thousand years’ fame, ten thousand years’ fame-

What good, when you are dead and gone.


Wang Wei

AT PARTING

 

I dismount from my horse and I offer you wine,

And I ask you where you are going and why.

And you answer: “I am discontent

And would rest at the foot of the southern mountain.

So give me leave and ask me no questions.

White clouds pass there without end.”


Wang Wei

TO QIWU QIAN BOUND HOME

AFTER FAILING IN AN EXAMINATION

 

In a happy reign there should be no hermits;

The wise and able should consult together….

So you, a man of the eastern mountains,

Gave up

 

 

 

your life of picking herbs

And came all the way to the Gate of Gold —

But you found your devotion unavailing.

…To spend the Day of No Fire on one of the southern rivers,

You have mended your spring clothes here in these northern cities.

I pour you the farewell wine as you set out from the capital —

Soon I shall be left behind here by my bosomfriend.

In your sail-boat of sweet cinnamon-wood

You will float again toward your own thatch door,

Led along by distant trees

To a sunset shining on a far-away town.

…What though your purpose happened to fail,

Doubt not that some of us can hear high music.