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Poem of the Month

August 2017

A Summer Day in the Mountains (夏日山中) (Xià Rì Shān Zhōng)
By Li Bai (李白) (Lǐ Bái)

懶搖白羽扇
裸體()青林中
脫巾掛石壁
露頂灑松風

Lǎn yáo bái yǔshàn
luǒtǐ (tǎn) qīng lín zhōng
tuō jīn guà shíbì
lù dǐng sǎ sōngfēng

Too lazy to wave my fan of white plumes;
Rather, go naked, ‘neath the greenwood trees,
My headcloth undone, on a stone wall hung,
Idling, bare-headed, in the pine-filled breeze.


Previously...

July 2017

On the Lake (池上) (Chí shàng)
By Bai Juyi (白居易) (Bái Jūyì)

山僧對棋坐,
局上竹陰清。
映竹無人見,
時聞下子聲。

Shān sēng duì qí zuò
jú shàng zhú yīn qīng
yìng zhú wúrén jiàn
shí wén xiàzi shēng

Two monks sit facing, playing chess on the mountain,
The bamboo shadow on the board is dark and clear.
Not a person sees the bamboo's shadow,
One sometimes hears the pieces being moved.


June 2017

An Ode to the Goose (咏鹅)
By Luò Bīn Wáng (骆宾王)

鹅,
曲项向天歌。
白毛浮绿水,
红掌拨清波。

É, é, é,
qū xiàng xiàng tiān gē.
Bái máo fú lǜ shuǐ,
hóng zhǎng bō qīng bō.

Goose, goose, goose,
You bend your neck towards the sky and sing.
Your white feathers float on the emerald water,
Your red feet push the clear waves.

 


 

May 2017

Late Spring (晚春)
By Han Yu (韓愈)

草木知春不久归,
百般红紫斗芳菲。
杨花榆荚无才思,
惟解漫天作雪飞。

Cǎomù zhīchūn bùjiǔ guī,
bǎibān hóng zǐ dòu fāngfēi.
yánghuāyú jiá wú cáisī,
wéi jiě màntiān zuò xuě fēi.

The plants all know that spring will soon return,
All kinds of red and purple contend in beauty.
The poplar blossom and elm seeds are not beautiful,
They can only fill the sky with flight like snow.


April 2017

On the Stork Tower (登鹳雀楼)
By Wang Zhihuan (王之涣)

白日依山尽,
黄河入海流。
欲穷千里目,
更上一层楼。

Bái rì yī shān jǐn,
huánghé rù hǎiliú.
Yù qióng qiānlǐ mù,
gèng shàng yī céng lóu.

The sun beyond the mountains glows;
The Yellow River seawards flows.
You can enjoy a grander sight,
By climbing to a greater height.

 


March 2017:

Maple Bridge at Night (枫桥夜泊)
By Zhang Ji (张继)

月落乌啼霜满天
江枫渔火对愁眠。
姑苏城外寒山寺
夜半钟声到客船。

Yuè luò wū tí shuāng mǎn tiān
jiāngfēng yúhuǒ duì chóumián.
Gū sū chéng wài hán shānsì
yèbàn zhōng shēng dào kèchuán.

While I watch the moon go down, a crow caws through the frost,
Under the shadows of maple-trees a fisherman moves with his torch.
And I hear, from beyond Suzhou, from the temple on Cold Mountain,
Ringing for me, here in my boat, the midnight bell.


February 2017

The Bloom is Not a Bloom (花非花)
By Bai Juyi (白居易)

花非花
雾非雾
夜半来
天明去
来如春梦几多时
去似朝云无觅处

Huā fēi huā
wù fēi wù
yèbàn lái
tiānmíng qù
lái rú chūnmèng jǐ duōshí
qù shì cháo yún wú mì chù

The bloom is not a bloom,
The mist not mist.
At midnight she comes,
And goes again at dawn.
She comes like a spring dream - how long will she stay?
She goes like morning cloud, without a trace.


January 2017:

Thoughts in the Silent Night (静夜思)
By Li Bai (李白)

床前明月光,
疑是地上霜。
举头望明月,
低头思故乡。

Chuáng qián míng yuèguāng,
Yí shì dìshàng shuāng.
Jǔ tóu wàng míngyuè,
Dītóu sī gùxiāng.

Beside my bed a pool of light—
Is it frost on the ground?
I lift my eyes and see the moon,
I bend my head and think of home.

-As translated by Yang Xianyi & Dai Naidie


December 2016:

The Butterfly Dream
By Zhuangzi (莊子)

昔者莊周夢為蝴蝶,栩栩然蝴蝶也,自喻適志與,不知周也。俄然覺,則戚戚然周也。不知周之夢為蝴蝶與,蝴蝶之夢為周與?週與蝴蝶則必有分矣。此之謂物化。

Xī zhě zhuāngzhōumèng wèi húdié, xǔ xǔ rán húdié yě, zì yùshìzhì yǔ, bùzhī zhōu yě. Érán jué, zé qi qiránzhōu yě. Bùzhī zhōu zhī mèng wèi húdié yǔ, húdié zhī mèng wèi zhōu yǔ? Zhōu yǔ húdié zé bì yǒu fèn yǐ. Cǐ zhī wèi wùhuà.

Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things.

— As translated by Lin Yutang