A blue kitten is crouching beside a yellow chicken, but they seem not to be thinking the same thoughts

Year End

Gone with the snow

The days of sorrow

Before you know, the weather has turned warm

Lining my pathway with willows

And plums blooming on one side alone

I can’t help but begin to sing

You say my song and the wine are perfectly in sync!

Don’t know what it really means

But the mountains must know

Some songs are meant to be sung

Translated by Dot, from Tao Yuanming’s “La Ri,” a poem about the traditional Chinese holiday La Ba, written in the Six Dynasties period

风雪送余运,无妨时已和。
梅柳夹门植,一条有佳花。
我唱尔言得,酒中适何多!
未能明多少,章山有奇歌。

~ 陶淵明 (東晉末至南北朝) 《蜡日》(亦即蜡八,指年終蜡祭八神之日)

Tao Yuanming, born in 365 AD and died in 427 AD, is a major figure in China’s long history of poetry. Being disappointed with the political reality in his era, he decided to withdraw from public service and spent much of his life in reclusion, writing poetry to reflect on the beauty of countryside and simple life. He is considered the pioneer of recluse poetry, and his works a paragon of the ‘Fields and Gardens’ genre, an important poetic movement in classical Chinese literature.


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 by Dot, 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 have a way with words

Indeed a rare breed you are

Unfortunately still you are just a mortal

Probably will die yet another unnamed moron

Since the beginningless time, so many others are like you

Really it is not something new

Why not come to my cloud castle

Let me show you a song about that mystical flora

~ Translated by Dot, 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

Coming home


Geese in pairs eager to elope

So are homecomers from the north

It’s told the deserts are still laden with snow storms

Why don’t you stay here half a month in the south

Alongside the River of Spring in hometown

~ Translated by Dot, 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.

Love

The most precious in life, unmatched and uncontrived

Seek it and you shan’t find it

For it leaves no trace of flight

Feel it and it fills your heart

To the point beyond light and dark

If you have no faith in it, though

You might just miss out even if it shows up

~ Translated by Dot, from Cold Mountain’s original work in the Tang dynasty

可贵天然物,独一无伴侣。觅他不可见,出入无门户。

促之在方寸,延之一切处。你若不信爱,相逢不相遇。

~ 寒山 (唐代)