kerkevik_2014: (Luggage)
Returning to one of the poets from the Three Tang Dynasty Poets collection issued as part of the Penguin Classics 80th Anniversary. This caught my eye yesterday morning; think it was the image of the Moon floating that did it. I watched Apollo 13 twice in about thirty-six hours; one of those movies/tv eps that I go to when I need comforting. Of all the lines in it that captures my imagination is Gene Krantz defiantly stating that, "with all due respect, I believe this will be our (NASA's) finest hour."

Anyway this is Night Thoughts Afloat by Tu Fu (Du Fu)

Night Thoughts Afloat

By bent grasses
in a gentle wind
Under straight mast
I'm alone tonight,

And the stars hang
above the broad plain
But moon's afloat
in this Great River:

Oh, where's my name
among the poets?
Official rank?
'Retired for ill-health.'

Drifting, drifting,
what am I more than
A single gull
between sky and earth?

Goddess watch over us all,
'tis ok to be Takei,
Kerk TehKek
kerkevik_2014: (Lilac)
This is by the third, and last, of the Three Tang Dynasty Poets, Tu Fu (Du Fu) 712-770, in the Penguin Classics 80th Anniversary booklet I purchased a few weeks back. This is a longer poem but, I think, my favourite of the three I chose. It's a lovely song to a wonder of nature; enduring and strong.

The Ballad of the Ancient Cypress

In front of K'ung-ming Shrine
stands an old cypress,
With branches like green bronze
and roots like granite;

Its hoary bark, far round,
glistens with raindrops,
And blueblack hues, high up,
blend in with Heaven's:

Long ago Statesman, King
kept Time's appointment,
But still this standing tree
has men's Devotion;

United with the mists
of ghostly gorges,
Through which the Moon brings cold
from snowy mountains.

(I recall near my hut
on Brocade River
Another Shrine is shared
by King and Statesman

On civil, ancient plains
with stately cypress:
The paint there now is dim,
windows shutterless...)

Wide, wide through writhing roots
maintain its station,
Far, far in lonely heights,
many's the tempest

When its hold is the strength
of Divine Wisdom
And straightness by the work
of the Creator...

Yet if a crumbling Hall
needed a rooftree,
Yoked herds would, turning heads,
balk at this mountain:

By art still unexposed
all have admired it;
But axe though not refused,
who could transport it?

How can its bitter core
deny ants lodging,
All the while scented boughs
give Phoenix housing?

Oh, ambitious unknowns,
sigh no more sadly:
Using timber as big
was never easy!

Goddess watch over us all,
'tis ok to be Takei,
Kerk TehKek
kerkevik_2014: (Default)
Nearly chose another poem over this one by Li Po (Li Bai) 701-762; second of the poets in the Penguin Classics 80th Anniversary booklet - #9 in the series, Three Tang Dynasty Poets.

This one though feels far truer to my state of being right now; over time as well.

Hard is the journey

Gold vessels of fine wine,
thousands a gallon,
Jade dishes of rare meats,
costing more thousands,

I lay my chopsticks down,
no more can banquet,
And draw my sword and stare
wildly about me:

Ice bars my way to cross
the Yellow River,
Snows from dark skies to climb
the T'ai-hang Mountains!

At peace I drop a hook
into a brooklet,
At once I'm in a boat
but sailing sunward...

(Hard is the journey,
Hard is the journey,
So many turnings,
And now where am I?)

So when a breeze breaks waves,
bringing fair weather,
I set a cloud for sails,
cross the blue oceans!

Goddess watch over us all,

kerk tehkek
kerkevik_2014: (Scars and Stripes by Wes James)
Another poem connected, in my mind, with the world today; though this is even older. It comes from one of the booklets published for Penguin books 80th anniversary.

From #9 in the series: Three Tang Dynasty Poets, this is by Wang Wei (Wang Youcheng) circa 699-761. The theme of this one is flavoured with scenes I imagine taking place all over the world every day; that of families being sundered, possibly never to be mended.

Watching a farewell

Green green the willowed road
The road where they are separating
A loved son off for far provinces
Old parents left at home

He must go or they could not live
But his going revives their grief
A charge to his brothers - gently
A word to the neighbours - softly
A last drink at the gates
And then he takes leave of his friends

Tears dried, he must catch up his companions
Swallowing grief, he sets his carriage in motion
At last the carriage passes out of sight
But still at times there's dust thrown up from the road

I too, long ago, said good-bye to my family
And when I see this, my handkerchief is wet with tears.

Goddess watch over us all,

kerk tehkek


kerkevik_2014: (Default)

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