River Snow

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River Snow
Liu Zongyuan  773-819
Not a single bird visible
in hundreds of mountain,
nor any footprints discernable
on thousands of trails,
only a solitary boat,
a bamboo-apped-and-clad old man
alone, fishing...
the snow
in the cold river.
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: Qiu Xiaolong 裘小龍

"Sucha lonely world, and such a solitary man, Chen contemplated. The image of the bamboo clothing added to the chilliness of the scene. Chen was struck by the ambiguity of the last few lines...not necessarily angling for fish, nothing but the snow in the cold river. Perhaps more of a gesture."

From Qiu Xiaolong's latest detective novel, A Case Of Two Cities, 2006, St. Martin's Press.

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