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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Autumn Evening Sitting Alone

Here's my translation of a poem by the great Tang poet Wang Wei.  I came across this recently and it strikes me as near perfect way to describe my current frame of mind - very aware of the passing seasons but longing for something more.  In the case of Wang Wei, the poem (and in particular the last stanza) can only be understood in reference to his practice of Chan Buddhism.

Autumn Evening Sitting Alone

Sitting alone in sadness
Both temples furrowed
In an empty room
Awaiting second watch

There’s rain in the mountains
Where the fruits have fallen
And beneath the lamplight
Crickets cry in the damp grass

Hair grown white
From root to end
Is just as hard to transform
As the purest gold

Yearning for knowledge
To expunge age and illness
But who can attain the wisdom
Beyond birth and death

* * * * *

Here's the original version.  


独坐悲双  空堂欲二更
雨中山果落  灯下草虫
终难  黄金不可成
欲知除老病  唯有学无生

*  *  *  * *

And here is a portrait of the scholar Fu Sheng that is a copy of a painting originally credited to Wang Wei:

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