Spring South of The River

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Chan temple 真如寺 Zhenrusi, on Yunjushan, between Jiujiang and Nanchang in Jiangxi Province.

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Spring South of The River
        Du Mu 803-852

Everywhere orioles sing
        green turns crimson,
In riverside village
        wineshop banners flap.
Southern Dynasty temples
        four hundred eighty or more,
Towers and terraces
        wreathed in misty rain.
Jiāngnán Chūn
Dù Mǔ 803-852

Qiān lǐ yīng tí lǜ yìnghóng,
Shuǐ cūn shān guō jiǔqí fēng.
Nán Cháo sìbǎi bāshí sì,
Duōshǎo lóu tái yānyǔ zhōng.
Translator: Dongbo 東波

One of Du Mu's well known 絕句 Jueju, or quatrains, a verse form he excelled in.

This poem was written while Du Mu was traveling in 金陵 Jinling, present day 南京 Nanjing. During the 南朝 Nanchao, Southern Dynasties, 420-589, 400 years before Du Mu's visit, many many temples were built there, some say 480! Some still remained in Du Mu's time but the misty rain had swallowed up most of them in the preceeding 400 years. Today, in early May, 2008, only a few remain, and all of these have been rebuilt many times since the Tang.

The photo is not from Nanjing, but we like this misty image of the 真如寺 Zhenrusi.

See the alternate translation of this same poem. Often we come a cross a poem we like, not realizing that we have translated it before. Always the new translation is unique. So much depends on one's mood and mindset on the day of translation!

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