The Late Poems of Wang An-shih
Written on a Wall at
Samadhi-Forest has a host, the abbot,
and I’m the guest. Host and guest, we
each have our own mind, but they’re
both quiet as the same mountain peak.
Wandering Out with a Full Moon to
Thoughts turned far away from you,
confusion rife, I can’t sleep. Finally
I rise, gaze up into bright stars, then
saddle a horse and wander the road
east, thinking rivers and mountains
might ease my worries. I know you
ate no dinner. Come: we’ll ladle out
clouds together here at their source.
On a Farewell Journey to Send off
Mend-Source, a Sudden Windstorm Rages,
So I Write Four Lines on the Boat’s Wall
At the Huai River mouth, west wind turns
brutal. My friend’s stuck here who knows
how long. But look: the rising moon turns
all these thoughts we share incandescent!
Bitter mist hides spring colors. Grief-
drizzle sickens the splendor of things.
That dark isolate wonder impossible
now, I swill down a cup of dusk haze.
I understood Radiance-Hut Monastery today.
Ox-Head Mountain stands resolute at the gate,
but graves are tangled mulberry and bamboo,
terrace and temple a ruins of jade and gold.
A newborn calf sleeps in windblown silence.
Evening crows take flight one by one. Each
sight opens thousand-year dreams, no words
enough even for tonight’s blossoms and rain.
Pure-Apparent, ancient monastery
twenty autumns deserted and cold:
it’s seen the ruin ravaging kalpas,
and now I come cultivating origins.
Dawn lights up the room. I close my book and sleep,
dreaming of Bell Mountain and full of tenderness.
How do you grow old living with failure and disgrace?
Stay close to the cascading creek: cold, shimmering.
Getting this old isn’t much fun,
and it’s worse stuck in bed, sick.
I draw water and arrange flowers,
comforted by their scents adrift,
scents adrift, gone in a moment.
And how much longer for me?
Cut flowers and this long-ago I:
it’s so easy forgetting each other.