December 16, 2011

Poetry of Bái Jū-Yì (白居易)


Reading Chinese poetry with a warm cup of wū lóng tea seems very fitting these days with the arrival of winter and its short, dark, and wet days. The following are two personal favorites of mine written by Bái Jū-Yì (772-846) of the tang dynasty known for his plain, direct, and easily comprehensible style of verse, as well as for his social and political criticism.

Thoughts, interpretations, and comments are always welcome and encouraged.

花非花
白居易

花非花
雾非雾
夜半来
天明去
来如春梦几多时
去似朝云无觅处

A Bloom is not a Bloom

Bái Jū-Yì

A bloom is not a bloom,
The mist not mist.
It comes at midnight,
And leaves again at dawn.
Arrives like a spring dream, but for how long?
Departs like morning clouds, without a trace.




 读老子                                     
白居易


言者不如知者默
此语吾闻于老君
若道老君是知者
缘何自著五千文


Reading Lǎo Zǐ

Bái Jū-Yì

Those who speak do not know, while the ones that do are silent.
These are the words I’ve heard from the old gentleman (Lǎo Zǐ).
If the old gentleman knew the way,
Then for what reason did he write five-thousand characters.

6 comments:

Z'ev Rosenberg said...

Very sweet poems. ... goes well with my new book of Classical Chinese Art and a hot cup of puer tea. .

Shavuah tov, Chanukah sameach,
Z'ev Rosenberg

Eran Even said...

Toda Z'ev, happy you enjoyed them!!

Hope you and your family have a very lovely holiday.

tcmchina said...

Great, love it. There is so much art to translating. Good job! Happy holidays in Canada

Eran Even said...

Thanks Eric!!!

Happy holidays in the middle kingdom.

Roni said...

Thanks for the poetry, bro!
Ron Elkayam

Eran Even said...

Thank you for reading brother!!!

Roni, I know you like to dabble in the poetry yourself, so if you've got some stuff you like and want to translate, I'd love to post it here.

Eran

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