• Translation

Wang Wei's "Deer Park" & Other Poems



"Lu Zhai" ("Deer Park")

by Wang Wei (699-759)

loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Uninhabited hills ...

except that now and again the silence is broken

by something like the sound of distant voices

as the sun's sinking rays illuminate lichens ...

"Swiftly the years mount"

by T'ao Ch'ien

loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Swiftly the years mount, exceeding remembrance.

Solemn the stillness of this spring morning.

I will clothe myself in my spring attire

then revisit the slopes of the Eastern Hill

where over a mountain stream a mist hovers,

hovers an instant, then scatters.

Scatters with a wind blowing in from the South

as it nuzzles the fields of new corn.

David Hinton said that T'ao Ch'ien (365-427) "stands at the head of the great Chinese poetic tradition like a revered grandfather: profoundly wise, self-possessed, quiet, comforting." T'ao gained quasi-mythic status for his commitment to life as a recluse farmer, despite poverty and hardship. Today he is remembered as one of the best Chinese poets of the Six Dynasties Period.


”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.

Li Bai (701-762) was a romantic figure who has been called the Lord Byron of Chinese poetry. He and his friend Du Fu (712-770) were the leading poets of the Tang Dynasty era, which has been called the "Golden Age of Chinese poetry." Li Bai is also known as Li Po, Li Pai, Li T’ai-po, and Li T’ai-pai.