• Translation

Lines from Laolao Pavillion & Other Poetry


Lines from Laolao Ting Pavilion

by Li Bai (701-762)

loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The spring breeze knows partings are bitter;

The willow twig knows it will never be green again.


Shijing Ode #9: “Han Guang”

ancient Chinese rhyming poem circa (1200 BC - 600 BC)

loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the South tall trees without branches

offer men no shelter.

By the Han the girls loiter,

but it’s vain to entice them.

For the breadth of the Han

cannot be swum

and the length of the Jiang

requires more than a raft.

When cords of firewood are needed,

I would cut down tall thorns to bring them more.

Those girls on their way to their future homes?

I would feed their horses.

But the breadth of the Han

cannot be swum

and the length of the Jiang

requires more than a raft.


When cords of firewood are needed,

I would cut down tall trees to bring them more.

Those girls on their way to their future homes?

I would feed their colts.

But the breadth of the Han

cannot be swum

and the length of the Jiang

requires more than a raft.


A Toast to Uncle Yun

by Li Bai (701-762)

loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Water reforms, although we slice it with our swords;

Sorrow returns, although we drown it with our wine.


Featured in New Lyre Issue II

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