Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Alarm At Entering the Yang-Tze Gorges by Po Chu-i

Above, a mountain ten thousand feet high:
Below, a river a thousand fathoms deep.
A strip of green, walled by cliffs of stone:
Wide enough for the passage of a single reed.
At Chu-t’ang a straight cleft yawns:
At Yen-yu islands block the stream.
Long before night the walls are black with dusk;
Without wind white waves rise.
The big rocks are like a flat sword:
The little rocks resemble ivory tusks.

We are stuck fast and cannot move a step
How much the less, three hundred miles?
Frail and slender, the twisted-bamboo rope:
Weak, the dangerous hold on towers’ feet.
A single slip- the whole convoy lost:
And my life hangs of this thread!

I have heard a saying "He that has an upright heart
Shall walk scathless through the lands of Man and Mo.”
How can I believe that since the world began
In every shipwreck none have drowned but rogues?
And how can I, born in evil days
And fresh from failure, ask a kindness of Fate?
Often I fear that these un-talented limbs
Will be laid at last in an un-named grave!

1 comment:

  1. What man's land is a graveyard?
    It is the crowded home of ghosts,-
    Wise and foolish shoulder to shoulder.
    The King of the Dead claims them all;
    Man's fate knows no tarrying.

    "The Graveyard" Sung at the burial of common men.

    How swiftly it dries,
    The dew on the garlic-leaf.
    The dew that dries so fast
    To-morrow will fall again.
    But he whom we carry to the grave
    Will never more return.

    "The Dew on the Garlic-leaf"
    Sung at the burial of kings and princes.