drafty mountain hut

always at home, forever on the way

Tag: Tu Fu

Green mountains emptiness

by tendo zenji

At Manifold-Devotion Post-Station,
a Second Farewell to the Governor

Ending our distant farewell, separation 
begins here, green mountains emptiness

felt. We'll never again wander together 
sipping wine beneath last night's moon.

The whole country sings praises of you, 
radiant through three reigns. Me, I'll go 

home to my river village, nurture what 
life remains in isolate depths of silence.

-Du Fu
Translated by David Hinton in Selected Poems of Tu Fu

Alone, Looking for Blossoms Along the River

by tendo zenji

 

P1070332

Alone, Looking for Blossoms Along the River
A poem by Tu Fu, translated by David Hinton

1

Who understands the grief these riverside blossoms inflict?
It makes me crazy, and there’s no one here to tell, so I go

searching for our southern neighbor, my old friend in wine,
but he’s gone ten days drinking. All I find is an empty bed.

2

A thick frenzy of blossoms crowding our river shorelines,
I wander along, listing dangerously, in full fear of spring.

With poems and wine against all that profusion, I endure:
arrangements for this ancient, white-haired man can wait.

3

Deep river repose, two or three houses in bamboo quiet,
and such goings-on: red blossoms blazing among white.

Answering spring’s radiant glories, I too have my place:
sending them off with a  lovely wine on the shores of life.

4

Looking east to the city all smoke crowded with blossoms,
I love our little Hundred-Flower Stream tower even more:

to open gold jars and label out fine wine, calling beautiful
women to dance on embroidered mats: who could bear it?

5

At the monastery abbot’s grace, the river flows away east,
spring’s radiant glories idle and tired among sparse winds.

In this crush of peach blossoms open without their owner’s
empty mind, I can treasure reds deep or shallow the same.

6

Blossoms crowd orchard paths where the abbot’s wife lives:
thousands, tens of clustered thousands weigh branches down,

and ceaseless butterflies linger in playful dance, as exquisite
oriole song tumbles along empty and altogether its very self

-Tu Fu
translated by David Hinton in The Selected Poems of Tu Fu

Autumn Kessei 2017 Week 11

by tendo zenji

In reply to a Letter from Meng, Who’s
Gone Searching for His Old Village

After all that loss and ruin, I live at peace
far from Lo–yang summits, still unraveling

This question cloud-hidden peaks all pose.
I never leave these thorn-bramble depths—

north winds yellow leaves tumbling away,
southern streams old-age laments. Ten years

a guest of lakes and rivers — this mind all
lingering dusk grows boundless, boundless.

—Tu Fu (712-770)
translated by David Hinton in Mountain Home

Autumn Kessei 2017 week 8

by tendo zenji

Escaping Trouble

A white-haired old man in my fifties
I’ve fled north and south away from trouble
this feeble body wrapped in thin clothing
always on the move and never warm
beset by illness and failing health
the world all mud and ashes
for ten thousand miles on Earth or in Heaven
I haven’t found a place I belong
my wife and children are still with me
whenever I see them I sigh
my hometown is a wasteland of weeds
all my neighbors have scattered
I don’t see a road leading back
I’ve cried out my eyes on Hsiang.

— Tu Fu
translated by Bill Porter (Red Pine) in Finding Them Gone