A Journey from Puzhao to Two Cloisters


 
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A Journey from Puzhao to Two Cloisters
Su Shi 1036-1101

Tall pines chant in the wind,
        rain falls lightly at dusk.
East Cloister is half-shut,
        West Cloister is locked.
I walked through mountains all day
        yet met no people;
The perfume of wild plum blossoms
        fills my sleeves.
The resident monk laughs at me
        for being so enamored of pure scenes.
He dislikes the remoteness of mountains,
        but he cannot leave.
Though I love the mountains,
        I, too, laugh at myself.
Solitary withdrawal harms the spirit,
        it would be hard to carry on.
How much nicer, on West Lake,
        to drink fine wine,
The scents of red apricots and green peaches
        covering coiffured hair.
I write this poem to apologize to
        the old men who gathered thorn-ferns,
I don't want to avoid people,
        so how could i avoid the world?
 
Zì Pǔzhào Yóu Èr Ān
Sū Shì 1036-1101

Cháng sōng yín fèng wǎn yǔ xì,
Dōng Ān bàn yǎn Xī Ān bì.
Shān xíng jìn rì bù féng rén,
Yìyì yě méi xiāng rù mèi.
Jū sēng xiào wǒ liàn qīng jǐng,
Zì yàn shān shēn chū wú jì.
Wǒ suī ài shān yì zì xiào,
Dú wǎng shén shāng hòu nán jì.
Bùrú Xīhú yǐn měi jiǔ,
Hóng xìng bì táo xiāng fù jì.
Zuò shī jì xiè cǎi wēi wēng,
Běn bú bì rén nǎ bì shì?
 
Translator: Ron Egan 艾朗諾

Notes:
This poem was written in 1073 when Su Shi was prefect of Hangzhou. Su's responsibilities were also for the surrouding districts so perhaps this was written while he was doing his circuit. Puzhao was near Lingan and Tianmushan. Perhaps the cloisters were on Tianmushan.


From Ron Egan's definitive book on Su Shi (Su Dongpo), Word Image and Deed In The Life Of Su Shi, Harvard University Press. Used with permission. Professor Egan teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara, California.

 
 
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