Sailor's Midnight Insomnia


 
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On the Lijiang near Yangshuo, Guangxi

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蘇軾



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Sailor's Midnight Insomnia
        Su Shi 1036-1101

Light breeze xiaoxiao
        whistles in the wild rice,
Open door find rain
        moon fills the lake.
Boatman and seagulls
        share the same dream,
Large fish surries off
        like a startled fox.
Night deep
        no contact with other men,
Only my shadow and me
        amuse ourselves.
River births a sandbank
        where cold earthworms morn,
Setting moon entangled in the willows
        lights a hanging spider.
This life
        full of suffering and misery,
Snuffed out in an instant.
Cocks crow a bell sounds
        a hundred birds scatter,
On the prow I beat a drum
        and hoot into the night.


 
Zhōuzhōng Yèqǐ
Sū Shì 1036-1101

Wēifēng xiāoxiāo chuī gūpú,
Kāimén kàn yǔ yuè mǎn hú.
Zhōurén shuǐniǎo liáng tóngmèng,
Dà yú jīng cuàn rú bēn hú.
Yèshēn rénwù bù xiāng guǎn,
Wǒ dú xíngyǐng xiāng xī yú.
Àncháo shēng zhǔ diào hán yǐn,
Luòyuè guà liǔ kàn xuán zhū.
Cǐshēng hūhū yōuhuàn lǐ,
Qīng jìng guòyǎn néng xūyú.
Jī wū zhōng dòng bǎiniǎo sàn,
Chuántóu jīgǔ hái xiāng hū.
 
Translator: Dongbo 東波

Notes:
We believe this poem was written as Su was returning from his last exile on Hainan. He would have traveled up the rivers of Guangxi and Guangdong, crossed over the Meiguan on the border between Guangdong and Jinagxi, down the river to Poyang Lake and into the Changjiang by Jiujiang.

 
 
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