River ferry © 2010 . All rights reserved.

Mountains and rivers

Rain on the River

We cross the river over dark waves
Through dense fog and tie up the little boat
Under the bank to a willow.
I wake up heavy with wine in the middle of the night.
The lamp is only a
Smoky red coal. I lie listening to the
Hsiao hsiao of the rain on the bamboo roof
Of the cabin.

Lu Yu
(Sung poet, 960-1279)
Translated  by Kenneth Rexroth

The New Directions Anthology of Classical Chinese Poetry
Edited by Eliot Weinberger

On the Summit Above Tranquil-Joy Temple

Who says poets are so enthralled with mountains? Mountains,
mountains, mountains – I’ve raved on and on, and they’re still

clamouring for attention. A thousand peaks, ten thousand ridges:
it’s too much for me. If I climb an hour, I need to rest for three.

When your desk is piled full, you just can’t add anything more,
and when your withered stomach is full, who can keep eating?

So what good’s even a faint scrap of mist or kingfisher-green?
I’ll wrap it all up, send the whole bundle off to my city friends.

Yang Wan-li
(1127-1206)

Mountain Home
The wilderness poetry of ancient China
Selected and translated by David Hinton