DREAMING OF YUAN CHEN
This was written eight years after Yüan Chen's death, when Po-Chü-i was sixty-eight.
At night you came and took my hand and we wandered together in my dream ;
When I woke in the morning there was no one to stop the tears that fell on my handkerchief.
On the banks of the Ch'ang my aged body three times * has passed through sickness ;
At Hsien-yang* to the grasses on your grave eight times has autumn come.
You lie buried beneath the springs and your bones are mingled with the clay.
I — lodging in the world of men; my hair white as snow.
A-wei and Han-lang' both followed in their turn ;
Among the shadows of the Terrace of Night did you know them or not?
' Since you died.
' Near Ch'ang-an, modern Sing-an-fu.
' Yuan Chen's son and son-in-law.
A DREAM OF MOUNTAINEERING
Written when he was over seventy
At night, in my dream, I stoutly climbed a mountain,
Going out alone with my staff of holly-wood.
A thousand crags, a hundred hundreds valleys —
In my dream-journey none were unexplored
And all the while my feet never grew tired
And my step was as strong as in my young days.
Can it be that when the mind travels backward
The body also returns to its old state?
And can it be, as between body and soul.
That the body may languish, while the soul is still strong?
Soul and body — both are vanities:
Dreaming and waking — both alike unreal.
In the day my feet are palsied and tottering;
In the night my steps go striding over the hills.
As day and night are divided in equal parts —
Between the two, I get as much as I lose.
Congratulating himself on the comforts of his life after his retirement from office. Written circa 844.
Lined coat, warm cap and easy felt slippers,
In the little tower, at the low window, sitting over the sunken brazier.
Body at rest, heart at peace ; no need to rise early.
I wonder if the courtiers at the Western Capital know of these things, or not?
ON HEARING SOMEONE SING A POEM BY YUAN CHEN
Written long after Chen's death
No new poems his brush will trace:
Even his fame is dead.
His old poems are deep in dust
At the bottom of boxes and cupboards.
Once lately, when someone was singing,
Suddenly I heard a verse —
Before I had time to catch the words
A pain had stabbed my heart.
“Those who speak know nothing-;
Those who know are silent."
These words, as I am told,
Were spoken by Lao-tzu.
If we are to believe that Lao-tzu
Was himself one who knew,
How comes it that he wrote a book
Of five thousand words?
Chuang-tzu, the Monist
CHUANG-Tzu levels all things
And reduces them to the same Monad.
But I say that even in their sameness
Difference may be found.
Although in following the promptings of their nature
They display the same tendency,
Yet it seems to me that in some ways
A phoenix is superior to a reptile!
TAOISM AND BUDDHISM
Written shortly before his death
A TRAVELLER Came from across the seas
Telling of strange sights.
" In a deep fold of the sea-hills
I saw a terrace and tower.
In the midst there stood a Fairy Temple
With one niche empty.
They all told me this was waiting
For Lo-t'ien to come."
Traveller, I have studied the Empty Gate ; *
I am no disciple of Fairies
The story you have just told
Is nothing but an idle tale.
The hills of ocean shall never be
When I leave the earth it will be to go
To the Heaven of Bliss Fulfilled.''
* Buddhism. The poem is quite frivolous, as is shown try f..s claim
* The " tushita" Heaven, where Bodhisattvas wait till it is time for
them to appear on earth as Buddhas.
They have put my bed beside the unpainted screen ;
They have shifted my stove in front of the blue curtain.
I listen to my grandchildren, reading me a book;
I watch the servants, heating up my soup.
With rapid pencil I answer the poems of friends,
I feel in my pockets and pull out medicine-money.
When this superintendence of trifling affairs is done,
I lie back on my pillows and sleep with my face to the South.