Tag Archives: regulated verse

Spring Wind

Spring Wind

Old pine tree seems the only one
excited by the first warm wind

Empty-handed, the others barely nod
at his hundred foot tall child’s soul

Who remembers the world with no flowers
no leaves no bees who knows

What was and knows what’s coming

Translation talk at Black Swan Books

translation

I will be checking out this rather cool topic in my rather cool and little city this weekend. Angela Carter and Stan Galloway are area poets whose work I have enjoyed hearing in person.

Printer extraordinaire Emily Hancock of St Brigid Press will also be bringing copies of the mini-broadside of my translation of Li Ho’s “Sky Dream” for the event. I will not be selling this myself and I’m not sure if Emily has it for sale yet on her site, but you can always write her if you’re interested in seeing more. The poem is printed on very thin Unryu paper backed by grey Magnani Pescia paper, in Bembo typeface. The matting creates the shape of the moon which of course our poet Li would not bother to name in his brilliant and strange piece of verse, and will I think be available in a variety of night-sky-ish colors.

I believe St Brigid Press will also be issuing this poem’s companion translation of Li Po’s work, as well as a few other translations of classical Chinese verse. And of course as I attend this event I’ll be taking with me my time-travelling version of Mei Yao-ch’en, the great 11th century poet with whom I have spent so much time these last few months…

LiHo_SkyDream_black

 

LiHo_colophon

Two Poems About the Moon, one mentioning the moon six times and the other not mentioning the moon at all [new translations]

Two poems about the moon, one mentioning the moon six times and one not mentioning the moon at all

 

Sky Dream

Li Ho (790-816)

In the sky, that cold toad’s eye weeps.
Between towers of cloud its clarity slants, unstuck,

a jade wheel rolling anew in each drop of dew, glinting
off imaginary immortals on the fragrant path as they meet

and watch dust and ocean trade places beneath the Three Mountains
and even as they blink a thousand years run by like horses. Meanwhile,

way up there, to the toad the great nations are nine wisps
of angry mist and the wide ocean of sorrows a small spilled cup.

 

Still Night, Thoughts

Li Po (701-762)

Moon’s so bright before my bed
I mistook it for frost glowing on the floor.

I lift my head, and old hopes, to that moon,
then back down, eyes full of a dream of home.

 

–translated by Jeff Schwaner

Winter Moon Waxing

Winter Moon Waxing

 

No bird in the bare trees this evening
No rain or wind, no snow’s cushioned silence.
The twisted branch is capped, the sap beneath waiting
The clouds are without qualities this mild lonely night
In hours with wind from the north their drift would be enough
Even the moon behind them is too bland
Oh where is the weather to absorb sorrow
This vacant dark not empty only reflects