River Snow

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River Snow
Liu Zongyuan 773-819

These thousand peaks cut off the flight of birds
On all the trails, human tracks are gone.
A single boat—coat—hat—an old man!
Alone    fishing    chill    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: Gary Snyder 史耐德

"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 Dongbo, Kenneth Rexroth, David Hinton, and others.

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