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The Selected Poems of Po Chü-i



After Lunch


After eating lunch, I feel so sleepy.

Waking later, I sip two bowls of tea,


then notice shadows aslant, the sun

already low in the southwest again.


Joyful people resent fleeting days.

Sad ones can't bear the slow years.


It's those with no joy and no sorrow—

they trust whatever this life brings.




Enjoying Pine and Bamboo


I treasure what front eaves face

and all that north windows frame.


Bamboo winds lavish out windows,

pine colors exquisite beyond eaves,


I gather it all into isolate mystery,

thoughts fading into their source.


Others may feel nothing in all this,

but it's perfectly open to me now:


such kindred natures need share

neither root nor form nor gesture.





Autumn Thoughts, Sent Far Away


We share all these disappointments of failing

autumn a thousand miles apart. This is where


autumn wind easily plunders courtyard trees,

but the sorrows of distance never scatter away.


Swallow shadows shake out homeward wings.

Orchid scents thin, drifting from old thickets.


These lovely seasons and fragrant years falling

lonely away— we share such emptiness here.




The North Window: Bamboo and Rock


A magisterial rock windswept and pure

and a few bamboo so lavish and green:


facing me, they seem full of sincerity.

I gaze into them and can't get enough,


and there's more at the north window

and along the path beside West Pond:


wind sowing bamboo clarities aplenty,

rain gracing the subtle greens of moss.


My wife's still here, frail and old as me,

but no one else: the children are gone.


Leave the window open. If you close it,

who"ll keep us company for the night?

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