Monday, 18 December 2017

歸隱 陳摶

歸隱      陳摶 (? -989)

Retreating into Reclusion       Chen Tuan (? -989)
These ten years I’ve been roaming all over the world’s quarters,
Looking back, the green hills that often adorn my dreams are just too familiar,
The purple insignia of the court can never compare to a good night’s sleep however glorious they are,
Wealthily living behind a great crimson gate is but as good as the poor,
Army commanders, powerful they may be, in times of turmoil, risk their lives for their threatened sovereign in danger,
Court music, however fascinating, annoys those who just want to get drunk as an undesirable buster,
I’d better take all my old books and retreat to my old reclusive bower,
Where the wild flowers and birds are just as enchanting as anywhere.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

自詠 韓愈

自詠       韓愈 (768-824)

A Poem On Myself      Han Yu (768-824)

No sooner had I presented my memorial in the morning to the Emperor,
Than I was demoted and exiled eighty thousand miles south to county of Chao’an in the vesper,
Trying only to admonish His Majesty on his erroneous decision for the state’s welfare,
How dare I shirk my duties for this descript body of mine in my late years,
Clouds shroud the Qin Ridges blinding the bearings of my home quarters,
Thwarted by heavy snow at the Azure Gate my horse would go no further,
I know what’s in your mind as you’ve come such a long way to meet me here,
It’s so thoughtful of you prepared to collect my bones in this country of miasma.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

觀公孫大娘弟子舞劍器行·并序 杜甫

觀公孫大娘弟子舞劍器行·并序     杜甫(712-770)


On Seeing a Pupil of Madam Gongsun Performing 
the Dance Jian Qi – A Ballad
Du Fu (712-770)

On the nineteenth day of the tenth month of the second year of Dai Li in the house of Yuan Chi, Deputy Governor of Kui Prefecture, I saw Li the Twelfth Madam of Lin Ying perform the dance Jian Qi. Amazed by the brilliance and verve of her art, I asked from whom she learned it. I was a pupil of Madam Gongsun she replied.
I recall in the third year of Kai Yuan when I was still a little boy seeing Gongsun perform the Jian Qi dance and the Hun Tuo at Yan City. For consummation of techniques and the mettle, audacity and versatility of the strokes she was unequalled in her day. From the royal command performers and the insiders of the Spring Garden and Pear Garden in the Palace down to official call dancers outside, there was no one during the early years of His Sagely Peaceful and Divinely Martial Majesty who understood this dance as she did. Where now is that lovely figure in its magnificent costume? Now I’m already a hoar haired old man and this pupil of hers is well past her prime.
Having found out the pupil’s credentials, I now realized that what I had been watching was an original reproduction of the great dancer’s version of the dance. Mulling over my reminiscence I felt urged to write a ballad on the Jian Qi Dance.
Years ago, Zhang Xu the great master of cursive hand calligraphy, having seen Gongsun perform the Hexi Jian Qi several times at Ye City discovered afterwards, to his great gratitude, that his calligraphy has greatly improved. This should be able to shed some light on how great a dancer Gongsun was.

There was a fair lady surnamed Gongsun not too long ago,
Whenever she performed the Jian Qi dance she attracted spectators from all quarters to exalt,
Spectators as numerous as the hills were all awesomely appalled,
Even long after she finished her dancing the whole earth seemed all stumbled in a tumble,
Her dazzling swoop was like the nine suns by the legendary archer Yi’s arrows felled,
As vivacious as the gods riding their dragons across the heavens was her elan vital,
Her advances like thunder amassing its bellow,
Her pauses like river and seas frozen in hyaline gelid glow,
Her crimson lips and pearl adorned sleeves are now reposed,
But in her late years there was a pupil who inherited her art’s ambrosial vital verve,
Now this fair lady from Linying performing her art in the City of Bai Di on thrilled mettle,
Her answers to my questions revealed my admiration for her were reasonably rational,
Mulling over my reflections I am thrilled by angst and dismals,
In His Majesty’s service there were eight thousand women to avail,
Gongsun was from the outset the first to perform the dance Jian Qi before His Regal,
Fifty years have now gone by like the hand’s wiggle,
In these fifty years the royal house was plagued and darkened by treacherous upheavals,
Pupils of the Pear Garden have vanished like hazy mizzles,
On the fading glamour of this lady the chilly wintry sun glows,
South of the Hill of the Grain of Gold trees flanking the road to the Imperial Tomb have grown tall enough for their branches to have an arch to hold,
South of the Hill of the Grain of Gold the trees flanking the road to the Imperial Tomb have grown tall enough for their branches to have an arch to hold,
On the rocky wall of Qutang the dead grasses shrivel and whittle,
In the grand feast the shrill flutes once again come to their finale,
When pleasure is climaxed and sorrows follow the moon in the east again shows,
This gaffer knows not where to go,
Over the desolate mountains his calloused feet feed with more and more angst and dismals as further and further he goes.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

韋諷錄事宅觀曹將軍畫馬圖 杜甫

韋諷錄事宅觀曹將軍畫馬圖     杜甫(712-770)

On Seeing a Horse Painting by Cao Ba in the 
House of Recorder Wei Feng
Du Fu (712-770)

Painters of saddle-horses who have won acclaim since this dynasty’s inaugural,
The Prince of Jiangdu was the only one long acclaimed as ingeniously original,
Through thirty years of acclaim comes this renowned general,
The legendary horse Sheng Huang of old once again emerges in this world,
Once he painted our late emperor’s horse the Night Glow,
For ten days over the Dragon Pool thunders rolled,
A dish of dark red agate in the inner Treasury,
Ladies-in-waiting and maids of honour were ordered to get hold,
The dish bestowed after performing his dance of obedience returned our general,
Soon a rain of silks and satins from the most powerful imperial kinfolks kept chasing after the general,
They felt their screens would be lackluster unless graced by the general’s samples,
Great horses of the past Tai Zhong’s famous horse Curly,
And more recently Guo Ziyi’s grey horse Lion Dapple,
They have both been painted by our general,
Connoisseurs who’ve seen them utter long cries of marvel,
They are both war horses ten thousands others’ equal,
The white silk ground behind them spreads into an expansively expanse of windblown sand sprawl,
The other seven horses in the painting are all singularly original,
Far up above them, a chilly sky is laden with a mingle of snow and sunset glow,
On rolls of tall catalpa trees their frosty hooves paw and trample,
By their sides stable boys and grooms stand in rows and files,
Vying with each other their divine elan vital,
These nine distinguished horses gaze aloft with a deep rooted spirit of formidable mettle,
Who have been the lovers of the these horses most devoted,
Wei Feng in recent times and Zhi Bai in times of old,
The Majesty’s progress to the Xinfeng Palace I recall,
His emerald banner brushed the heavens as eastward the journey ensued,
Thirty thousand horses to the east throng in undulating files,
In sinews and bones they were on par with the horses in this portrayal,
Since the state visit to the River Lord and the offering of precious jade jewels,
No more shooting of dragons again in the waters did ever befall,
Can you not see since the Dragon’s Messengers departed from amidst the pines and cypresses in front of the Hill of the Grain of Gold,
Only birds are left on the wind to warble.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

白帝城最高樓 杜甫

白帝城最高樓    杜甫(712-770)

The Tallest Tower in Bai Di City       Du Fu (712-770)

Tall tall rises the tower and tortuously winding is the trail,
On it banners gloomily and sulkily unfurl,
It is an independent diaphanously veiled flying tower that in the sky dangles,
Anon the gulf seems to crack and brumous clouds and frosty haze veils under which oddish rocks like obscure dragons and tigers lie in purdu in the torrential flux swell,
Presently as the sun resumes its shiny glow the river waters turn limpid again and tortoises are seen playing and swimming between the rocks of the shoal,
Espying from here you seem to be able to see the boughs of the heavenly tree at the east from where up the sun goes via-vis the gulf,
The mythic river and the Great River always run parallel,
Whosoever is this gaffer on a cane who so deploringly waisl for the world,
This hoar hair old man could only inanely shed his bloody tears to the heavens and recoil.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

白帝 杜甫

白帝    杜甫(712-770)

The Bai Di City      Du Fu (712-770)

From the Bai Di city wall cloud waves roll,
Beneath the city bitter rain pours,
Spates of deluge rage amidst torrential flux and thunderous bolts,
Under the gloomy heavens ancient rattans have lost their usual glow,
In the wild a veteran horse leisurely lolls,
There used to be thousands of households now only a few hundreds stay on hold,
Widows being plundered by officials of all their chattels,
Amidst the autumnal harvest their mournful wails have unsettled every corner of the wild.

Friday, 24 November 2017

酹江月 文天祥

酹江月   和友驛中言別    文天祥(1236-1283)
乾坤能大,算蛟龙元不是池中物。乾坤能大,算蛟龍元不是池中物。 风雨牢愁无著处,那更寒蛩四壁風雨牢愁無著處,那更寒蛩四壁 。 横槊题诗 ,登楼作赋 ,万事空中雪。橫槊題詩,登樓作賦,萬事空中雪。 江流如此,方来还有英杰。江流如此,方來還有英傑。
去去龍沙 ,江山回首,一線青如髮。 故人應念,杜鵑枝上殘月。

Lei Jiang Yue    Echoing My Colleague Deng Yan’s Poem Bidding a 
Friend Farewell at the Carriage Station                                
Wen Tianxiang (1236-1283)

No matter the universe is how infinitely colossal,
A dragon will never be eternally in a pond trammeled,
Amidst winds and rains there is no way to air my long pent up desolations and dismals,
Chiming in my glum and melcholy are the incessant chirring autumn crickets on the walls,
What heroic figure Cao Cao cut himself as he stood crossing a lance and instantly concocted a jingle,
And how romantic it was when Wang Can mounted a tower and there had his great verse “Mounting the Tower” composed,
Everything has now turned into flying snow,
That is how rivers in the world keeping roll,
It just keeps turning up heroes,
I am just a piece of fallen leaf wilted,
Now back to River Huai I’ve recoiled,
The chilly gale is starting to rattle,
My looks in the mirror have greatly shuffled,
Leaving only my imperishable leal soul,
Hereon in the desert further and further to the farmost I go,
Looking back on my homeland purlieu,
There the mountains fade out into a hair fibril,
Whenever my old pals think of me they should take to heart the blood-spewing cuckoo trills on the branches under the fading moon sickle.