Simple Joy

Drizzle entrained in slanting wind and morning chill

Light clouds bypass weeping willows and after-rain beach

A boundless expanse comes into scene, where the Luo River joins the sea

Pearly bubbles floating in afternoon tea

Onboard my dinner plate are mountain greens

The divine delicacy in earthly life

mild flavor and simple glee

~ Translated from Su Shi’s “Drizzle In Slanting Wind and Morning Chill,” verses written on December 24, 1084 while hiking in Mount Zhong Nan


~ 蘇軾 (宋代) <<浣溪沙 細雨斜風作曉寒>>


Moon Gazing

When will the full moon come again?

I raise my winecup asking the sky

In heaven’s terms, what year is it right now up there?

I wish to ride the wind back to where I came from

Yet I dread the cold at the height

Instead I dance in the shade of my dream

Which seems to be much warmer than the flight

The moon lingers near the red eaves tonight

Peeking through my fringed window

Robbing me of sleep

I shouldn’t feel resentful

Yet at times while we’re apart, why does the moon have to be so full?

This earthly life is made up of joy and sorrow, reunion and farewell

And the moon keeps cycling through four phases as well

Since beginningless time it has been this way

May you live long and well

And gaze at the same moon thousand miles away

~ Translated from Su Shi’s “Lyrics To the Melody of Water,” written on a full-moon night in the Song dynasty


~ 蘇軾 (宋代) <<水調歌頭>>

Year End

Gone with the snow

the remaining days of sorrow

Before you know, the weather has turned warm

Lining my pathway are willows

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


~ 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)