Meng Haoran English Translations
Click on the title of each poem for the text in Chinese characters, pinyin and literal translation.
Parting From Wang Wei
Quietly, I've waited here so long,
Day after day; but now I must return.
Now I go to seek the fragrant grass,
But I grieve to part from my old friend.
Who is there who would help me on the road?
Understanding friends are few in life.
I should just observe my solitude,
And close again the gate of my old home.
Seeing Off Du Shisi South of the River
Jingzhou and Dongwu are both on the water,
You travel down the river in spring, now the level is high.
A sail is underway at sunset, what place will it moor?
Looking to the end of the sky can break a man's heart.
Spending the Night on Jiande River
The boat is moored beside the misty islet,
As sun goes down, my sorrow starts anew.
Out on the plain, the trees and heavens touch,
The moon seems close to me on this clear water.
I slumbered this spring morning, and missed the dawn,
From everywhere I heard the cry of birds.
That night the sound of wind and rain had come,
Who knows how many petals then had fallen?
Thinking of Xin in South Pavilion on a Summer's Day
The glow on western mountains quickly sets,
The moon is climbing over the eastern lake.
My hair loose, I enjoy the evening cool,
I lie in peace before the open window.
The wind spreads lotus scent all through the air,
The sound of dripping bamboo dew is clear.
Although I'd like to fetch my qin and play,
To my regret, there is no-one to hear.
So touched by this, I think of my old friend,
Throughout the night, I'm troubled by my dreams.
Thoughts in Early Winter
Trees shed leaves, and geese are flying south;
The north wind blows, here on the river it's cold.
My home is at the bend of the waters of Xiang,
Far beyond the edge of the clouds of Chu.
Travelling, I've exhausted my tears for home,
I watch a lone sail at the heavens' end.
The ferry's gone- who can I ask where?
Darkness falls beside the level sea.
To Buddhist Priest Yuan From Chang'an
I'd often like to lie atop a hill,
Instead I suffer hardship, lacking money.
This northern land was never what I wished,
Instead I think of my teacher in the eastern forest.
Now firewood costs as much as cassia wood,
My great ideals decline more year by year.
As the sun goes down, a chilling wind appears,
To hear cicadas makes me sorrow more.
To My Old Friend in Yangzhou From a Boat Moored at Night on the Tonglu River
I hear the mourning apes on darkened hills,
The dark blue river flows swiftly through the night.
On each bank, leaves are rustled by the wind,
The moon illuminates my lonely boat.
This place, Jiande, is not my native land,
I still recall my old friend in Yangzhou.
Again two tears trace two lines down my face,
I'd send them to the ocean's western coast.
To Zhang, Climbing Orchid Mountain on an Autumn Day
The northern mountain is hidden in white cloud,
A happy place for hermits to retire.
So we can meet, I try to climb the heights,
My heart is fading like a goose in flight.
My sorrow's prompted by the creeping dusk,
But then clear autumn spurs on my desires.
At length we see the villagers return,
They walk the sand and rest at the river crossing.
The trees against the sky are like shepherd's purse,
An islet by the shore just like the moon.
I hope you have some wine to celebrate,
We'll spend the autumn festival drunk together.
Visiting An Old Friend On His Farm
My old friend's prepared a meal of chicken and millet,
And invited me to join him at his farmhouse.
The village is surrounded by green trees,
Blue hills slope up beyond the city wall.
The window opens onto the vegetable garden,
Where holding wine, we talk of mulberry and hemp.
We are looking forward to the autumn festival,
When I'll return to see the chrysanthemums bloom.
Waiting for Ding
The sun is setting behind the western hills,
And swiftly all the valleys fill with shadow.
Between the pines, the moon brings in night's cool,
The sound of wind and stream is full and clear.
Now almost all the woodsmen have returned,
The birds are perching somewhere in the mist.
As I am expecting you to come and stay,
I take my qin and wait on the ivy path.