River Snow


 
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柳宗元







River Snow
        Liu Zongyuan 773-819

Thousand mountains
        birds flown away,
Ten thousand paths
        men's traces extinguished.
Lone boat
        old man in straw hat,
Fishing alone 
        in cold river snow.
 
Jiāng Xuě
Liǔ Zōngyuán 773-819

Qiān shān niǎo fēi jué,
Wàn jìng rén zōng miè.
Gū zhōu suō lì wēng,
Dú diào hán jiāng xuě.
 
Translator: Dongbo 東波

Notes:
"By the time you start reading, it’s already over, which only makes you ponder its meaning all the more." Eileen Chang in her essay 'On Carrots'.

Location unknown, perhaps XiaoXiang Rivers area in southern Hunan where Liu was exiled on the first of his two exiles. See other translations of this deceptively simple poem by Gary Snyder, Kenneth Rexroth, David Hinton, and others.

Image is of a painting by Lu Zuogeng. See his website at lu-zuogeng.com/gallery5.html.

 
 
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