Depicting The Fall

Withered vines, brittle trees, muted crows

Single-log bridge, small creek, desolate town

Ancient path, westerly wind, bumpy saddle

A sunset on the horizon

A broken heart in the world’s shadow

~ Translated from Ma Zhiyuan’s “Thoughts About the Fall,” written in the Yuan dynasty

枯藤老樹昏鴉,小橋流水人家,古道西風瘦馬。夕陽西下,斷腸人在天涯。

~ 馬致遠 (元代) <<天淨沙·秋思>>

Nothing Uncommon

We all know you had a way with words

indeed a rare breed you were

Unfortunately you are still a mortal

probably will die yet another unnamed moron

Since the beginningless time so many others are like you

it is really not something new

Why not come to the cloud castle

let’s learn a song about that mystical flora

~ Translated from Cold Mountain’s original verses in the Tang dynasty

手笔太纵横,身材极瑰玮。生为有限身,死作无名鬼。

自古如此多,君今争奈何。可来白云里,教尔紫芝歌。

~ 寒山 (唐代)

Alongside The River of Spring

A few peach blossoms

going beyond the bamboo grove

The water is warm, and ducks on the River of Spring

must be the first to know.

Lush greens and sprouted reeds, strewn all over the shore

it’s time for pufferfish from the sea

to come home


Geese in pairs eager to elope

so are homecomers from the north

It’s told the deserts are laden with snow storms

Why not spend half a month in the south

alongside the River of Spring in hometown

~ Translated from Su Shi’s “Scenery Alongside The River of Spring,” written in the Song dynasty

竹外桃花三兩枝,春江水暖鴨先知。
蒌蒿滿地蘆芽短,正是河豚欲上時。

两两归鸿欲破群,依依还似北归人。
遥知朔漠多风雪,更待江南半月春。

~ 蘇軾 <<惠崇春江晚/曉景>>

Su Shi, also known by his art name Su Dongpo, born in 1037 and died in 1101, is regarded as one of the most prominent figures in classical Chinese literature. He was prolific and all-around versatile – a brilliant essayist, lyricist, calligrapher, painter, poet, politician, meditator … all in all an extremely interesting and inspiring character, widely admired by all people in China since the Song dynasty.