Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.
T. S. Eliot
Four Quartets
Briunt Norton

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Imperial Tombs by: Du Fu (712-770)

The girdle ornaments are chill
Of those that serve about the Tomb,
Lost in the chamber's vaulted gloom.
And there the Hall of State is still;
But when the wind of Autumn sere
Comes wailing through the Palace drear.

The Moon o'erpeers the land of Ch'in,
Now sloping down unto the West:
The Dragon Pool comes creeping in
The ancient building to invest.
Another day of travel done,
We anchor with the setting sun.

The water clock with dripping clear
As then marks out the passing Time:
And in my memory rise anear
Those Gardens glittering white with rime:
A thousand miles away I view
The Tombs and Yellow Hill anew.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

By the Great Wall by: Li Bai (701-762)

Came the barbarian horde with the autumn;
Out went the imperial army from the House of Han.
The general has divided the tiger tallies,
And the dunes of White Dragon are now
The camping ground of the brave.
The moon in the wilderness
Follows the movement of his bow,
And upon his sword the desert frost blossoms.
He has not even entered this side of the Jewel Gate Pass.
But do not heave a long sigh, O little wife!
He rides his white charger by the Fortalice of Gold,
She wanders in dreams amid the desert cloud and sand.
It is a season of sorrow that she scarce can endure,
Thinking of her soldier lover at the border fort.
The fireflies, flitting about, swarm at her window,
While the moon slowly passes over her solitary bower.
The leaves of the green paulonia are tattered;
And the branches of the sha-tung blasted and sere.
There is not an hour but she, alone, unseen,
Weeps--only to learn how futile all her tears are.