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Wang Wei

Mengcheng Cove

I have a new house, at the mouth of the Mengcheng.
The tree at the old one — the willow — feels more sorrow;

though someone new — I don’t know who — will come,
it still has just sorrow for the previous tenant.

poem by Wang Wei, translated by William P. ColemanReport problemRelated quotes
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Farewell

Dismounting, I offer my friend a cup of wine,
I ask what place he is headed to.
He says he has not achieved his aims,
Is retiring to the southern hills.
Now go, and ask me nothing more,
White clouds will drift on for all time.

poem by Wang Wei, translated by Burton WatsonReport problemRelated quotes
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Night Hills

Rain gone. Hills are void.
Night air. Autumn now.
Bright moon in the pines.
Clear stream on the stones.
A bamboo noise – who heads home?
The lotus stirs – who sets out?
Spring scents always go.
But you – you must always stay.

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A Reply

I have a place on the Chungnan slopes.
Sitting there you can see the Mountains.
No one there, no guests, the gate is closed.
No plans all day, just time and silence.
Nothing stops you gazing and dreaming.
Why not come and try to find me there?

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Pleasures of Fields and Gardens

Spring a tangle of wildflowers and grasses lush and fragrant,
summer cool shade beneath thick pines towering everywhere:

oxen and sheep return on their own, wandering village lanes,
and for children here, robes of high office don't mean a thing.

poem by Wang Wei, translated by David HintonReport problemRelated quotes
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Passing the Temple

Tonight he walks with his light stick,
Stops by the Tiger Stream’s source,
Asks us to listen to the mountain sound,
Goes home again by clear waters.
Endless blossoms in the stillness.
Bird-cries deep in the valleys.
Now he'll sit in empty hills.
In pine-winds, feel the touch of autumn

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Written on the Wang River Scroll

No urge now to write poems.
Old age is my companion.
In error they made me a poet in a past life.
Some lost existence had me as a painter.
Unable to get rid of ingrained habits,
The world has come to know me by them.
My name, my style, they may grasp, it’s true.
But my mind and heart they’ll never know.

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Visiting the Temple of Accumulated Fragrance

I didn’t know where the temple was,
pushing mile on mile among cloudy peaks;

old trees, peopleless paths,
deep mountains, somewhere a bell.

Brook voices choke over craggy boulders,
sun rays turn cold in the green pines.

At dusk by the bend of a deserted pond,
a monk in meditation, taming poison dragons.

poem by Wang Wei, translated by Burton WatsonReport problemRelated quotes
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My Retreat at Mount Zhongnan

My heart in middle age found the Way.
And I came to dwell at the foot of this mountain.
When the spirit moves, I wander alone
Amid beauty that is all for me...
I will walk till the water checks my path,
Then sit and watch the rising clouds –
And some day meet an old wood-cutter
And talk and laugh and never return.

poem by Wang Wei, translated by Witter BynnerReport problemRelated quotes
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Green-Water Stream

To reach the Yellow-Flowered River
Go by the Green-Water Stream.
A thousand twists and turns of mountain
But the way there can’t be many miles.
The sound of water falling over rocks
And deep colour among pines.
Gently green floating water-plants.
Bright the mirrored reeds and rushes.
I am a lover of true quietness.
Watching the flow of clear water
I dream of sitting on the uncarved rock
casting a line on the endless stream.

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