Two Poems of Su Dong-Po

Yun Wang

Translated from Chinese

To the Tune of “The Joy of Returning to Court”

In Reply to Su Bo-Gu

I dreamed I was in a little boat floating on Thunder Lake
Snowy waves thrashed a thousand acres white
When I awoke Mount Lu filled my eyes
Countless green cliffs rising into the sky
I often gather up wet rice and run
You and I both travelers south of the Yangtze
We journey in a dream
wake to this pure pleasure
then fly as shuttles across a loom

Tomorrow you shall sail off into the west wind
singing my new poem as tears stain your robe
Qu Yuan’s passing made Chu Mountains empty
Orchids in Liyang have lost their colors
Your talents recall Liu Yu-Xi
sent to Wuling in the far southwest
He composed Bamboo Tunes for the Yao
who shall also sing your new poems
Poetry bridges past and present

To the Tune of “Journey Through Incense”

A crystal night untouched by dust
fills with silver moonlight
Wine overflows goblets
Fame and wealth drift
waste the spirit in blind labor
Life passes as a sunbeam
galloping over a crack in the wall
Flames leaping from a firestone
My body is locked in a dream

My chest swells with erudition
My mouth opens with no one to impress
Let me delight
in true simplicity
Someday I shall return home
to indulge in leisure
pluck strings of guqin
beside a flask of wine
a stream haunted by clouds

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