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Martin Stannard

ALIVE

                    after 感遇#1 by Zhānɡ Jiŭlínɡ (678-740)

In Spring the orchid, in Autumn the cinnamon
There is the happy life, there life is like a holiday

And when I leave to live quietly there
Where the fragrance of flowers floats on the breeze
And the word "alive" is a butterfly always before my eyes
Don't expect me to come back soon

Why on earth would I hurry from there back to here?

 


A FAREWELL

                    after 送別 by Wáng Wéi (699-759)

I dismount, tie up the horse
And we settle down with some wine
And I ask where you are going, and why

You say you no longer feel at home here
And will return to South Mountain
And its eternity of white clouds –

And that I should ask no more questions

 

 

AT SOUTH PAVILION

                    after 夏日南亭懷辛大 by Mèng Hàorán (689-740)

In the West the sun has slipped down behind the mountain
And to enjoy the cool of the evening I untie my hair
And throw the windows open wide

The moonlight lays upon East Lake
And the scent of lotus blossom fills the air
And dew drips from bamboo

Night birds cry
And I want to make something too: music, or a few lines of poetry

But you’re not here to enjoy any of this with me
And all I have is the consolation of whatever I can dream

 

 

WAITING

                    after 宿業師山房待丁大不至 by Mèng Hàorán (689-740)

The moonlight falling through the branches of the trees
Brings with it the chill of evening
The valley is a shadow now the sun has set behind the mountain
I hear the spring running clear

The birds are roosting in the branches of the trees
The woodcutters have gone home
For every creature it’s the closing down of the day
And here I am, working my way through a bottle of wine
Waiting for you because you said you would come


 

FISHING

                    after 春泛若耶溪 by Qíwú Qián (692-749)

Thinking is as solitary as writing
I foresee no end to either
This evening my boat and I follow the current
It leads us by a path of flowers
As night deepens the stars shine above the mountains
The moon is sinking toward the treetops
Mist hangs over the surface of the water
The air is thick with all that life could turn out to be
But since it cannot be known it’s not worth thinking about
So I am content
An old man fishing on my own beyond the world


 

READING AT SUNRISE

                    after 晨詣超師院讀禪經 by Liŭ Zōngyuán (773-819)

At sunrise the pines are bathed in fog and drip with dew
Bamboo has taken on the colour of moss in the courtyard

I draw water from the well
Clean my teeth and dust myself down
I read from scripture as I walk

I’ve been too long in darkness and want to rewrite what I think I am
But it’s all I can do to read quietly to myself

 

 

 

                                                       

 

 

 

Copyright © Martin Stannard, 2017.