Sunday, May 03, 2009



Ch'i-wu Ch'ien (692-749), A Boat in Spring on Jo-ya Lake, tr. Witter Bynner:
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 be an old man with a fishing-pole.
The same, tr. Kiang Kang Hu and William Garrett:
My quiet and joyful thinking has no end.
I carry it and go to whatever I may meet.
The evening breeze moves my boat.
Passing the flowers, and entering the lake,
It gradually turns toward the western-reaching waters.
I can see the southern star beyond the mountain.
The mist rises and flies smoothly.
The moon sinks down from the trees quietly.
Let me put aside all the worldly affairs,
And become a lone fisherman.
The same, tr. Florence Ayscough and Amy Lowell:
Solitary meditation is not suddenly snapped off; it continues without interruption.
It flows — drifts this way, that way — returns upon itself.
The boat moves before a twilight wind.
We enter the mouth of the pool by the flower path
At the moment when night enfolds the Western Valley.
The serrated hills face the Southern Constellation,
Mist hangs over the deep river pools and floats down gently, gently, with the current.
Behind me, through the trees, the moon is sinking.
The business of the world is a swiftly moving space of water, a rushing, spreading water.
I am content to be an old man holding a bamboo fishing-rod.

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