poem of my heart


Sitting in an empty hall
I enjoy no one’s company.
Going out to the endless road
I see no chariot or horse.
Climbing up a hill
I look at places far away.
A solitary bird hovers
And a stray beast wanders.
The setting sun reminds me of relatives and
How I have longed to talk to them!

Juan Chi

the hermitage of the bamboos

In solitude
sitting in the hidden forest
of the bamboos,
To the sound of the lute
I whistle suspended notes.
In the secrecy of the wood
I see no one:
The bright moon reaches me
with its light.

I come and go
in the hut
isolated among the bamboos,
Every day
more familiar with the Tao.
I go and come back:
there are none here
but the birds of the mountain.
Where solitude is deepest,
the people of the world

Wang Wei
P’ei Ti


The garden, deep and serene;
The hall, vacant and small.
Now and then,
washerwomen’s pounding
mingles with the wind.
In this eternal night,
only a sleepless man hears
the intermittent noises
Stealthily brought to the curtains
by the moonlight.

Li Yü

the rapids of the white rocks

Limpid and shallow
are the rapids of the torrent;
The green reeds
I can almost touch
The people from the huts
to the east and west of the water,
Are washing silk
by the light of the moon.

On tiptoe over the rocks
I return to the water’s edge,
Playing with the water
I feel a boundless emotion.
When the sun goes down,
the cold settles on the river,
And the drifting clouds
grow pale and evanescent.

Wang Wei
P’ei Ti

the bronze bird platform

A lovely young girl brings up a jar of wine.
The autumnal scene extends over a thousand miles.
The stone horse lies in the early mist —
How can I describe the sadness?
The singing is now faint,
Because a wind comes up out of the trees.
Her skirt, long and heavy, is pressed against the floor,
And her tearful eyes are fixed on the flowers on the

Li Ho

lake I

The voice of the flute
reaches the farthest bank.
It is sunset, and I am coming with you,
my master.
From the high shore of the lake
I turn back again to look;
On the green of the mountains
white clouds are gathering.

Wide in the emptiness
spreads the water of the lake:
Its pellucid splendour
reflects the hue of the sky.
I moor the boat to the bank,
and whistle contentedly
The freshness of the breeze
reaches me from every side.

Wang Wei
P’ei Ti

one day

Leaning upon my staff.
I stand in front of the gate.
The song of cicadas
is brought to me by the evening wind.
On the far side of the ferry
the sun is setting
And above the cottage
a solitary curl of smoke is rising.

Wang Wei

the hill of hua-tzǔ

The birds fly away
into infinite space:
Over the whole mountain
returns the splendour of autumn.
Ascending and descending
Hua-tzǔ hill,
I feel
unbounded bewilderment and

The sun sets,
the wind rises among the pines.
Returning home,
there is a little dew upon the grass.
The reflection of the clouds
falls into the tracks of my shoes,
The blue of the mountains
touches my clothes.

Wang Wei
P’ei Ti

poem of my heart


Being sleepless at midnight,
I rise to play the lute.
The moon is visible through the curtains
And a gentle breeze sways the cord of my robe.
A lonely wild-goose cries in the wilderness
And is echoed by a bird in the woods.
As it circles, it gazes
At me, alone, imbued with sadness.

Juan Chi


White clouds and whitecaps,
Both appear like foaming waves;
Oh, for fisherfolk—
Surely they can give me answer,
Which are the white waves of the sea?

Ki no Tsurayuki