Friday, January 10, 2020



Po Chü-i (772-846), "Arriving at My Old Home on the Wei Again," in Po Chü-i, Selected Poems. Translated by Burton Watson (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), pp. 35-36, with note:
Old home by a bend of the clear Wei,
gate opening on Ts'ai Ford:
ten years and at last I've returned,
could barely remember the road home.
I think back on places I walked in times past,
recall with a pang the old outings.
Willows stuck in the ground have become a tall grove,
peaches I planted are old trees now.
Most startling are the grownups,
all mere boys when I knew them.
And if I ask about older folk,
half now in graves that ring the village.
All alike sojourners in this floating life;
early or late, each in turn passes.
The bright sun is a bouncing ball,
rising, setting, its glow never still.
People and things day by day change and alter;
lift your eyes and you sorrow at all you see.
And when I think what this means for me,
how could I alone not falter and decline?
Minute by minute the flush of youth drains from faces,
white hairs sprout without number.
Only there beyond the temple gate,
three peaks that keep their old color!1

1. Probably the three peaks of Mount Hua, south of the Wei River.
The last lines are also translated by Arthur Waley, The Life and Times of Po Chü-i, 772-846 A.D. (1949; rpt. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1970), p. 77:
And when I turn my thoughts, when I think of myself,
What should I look for but darkness and decay?
The flush of youth will not cease to fade;
Numberless the white hairs will grow.
Only at the gate that opens towards the hills
The Three Peaks will be lovely as of old.

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?