Hearing The Early Oriole

Poem By Bai Juyi

When the sun rose I was still lying in bed;
An early oriole sang on the roof of my house.
For a moment I thought of the Royal Park at dawn
When the Birds of Spring greeted their Lord from his trees.
I remember the days when I served before the Throne
Pencil in hand, on duty at the Ch'eng-ming;
At the height of spring, when I paused an instant from work,
Morning and evening, was this the voice I heard?
Now in my exile the oriole sings again
In the dreary stillness of Hsün-yang town ...
The bird's note cannot really have changed;
All the difference lies in the listener's heart.
If he could but forget that he lives at the World's end,
The bird would sing as it sang in the Palace of old.

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Grasses

Boundless grasses over the plain
Come and go with every season;
Wildfire never quite consumes them --
They are tall once more in the spring wind.

Autumn Thoughts, Sent Far Away

We share all these disappointments of failing
autumn a thousand miles apart. This is where

autumn wind easily plunders courtyard trees,
but the sorrows of distance never scatter away.

Song Of The Guitar.

In the tenth year of Yuanhe I was banished and demoted to be assistant official in Jiujiang. In the summer of the next year I was seeing a friend leave Penpu and heard in the midnight from a neighbouring boat a guitar played in the manner of the capital. Upon inquiry, I found that the player had formerly been a dancing-girl there and in her maturity had been married to a merchant. I invited her to my boat to have her play for us. She told me her story, heyday and then unhappiness. Since my departure from the capital I had not felt sad; but that night, after I left her, I began to realize my banishment. And I wrote this long poem -- six hundred and twelve characters.

I was bidding a guest farewell, at night on the Xunyang River,
Where maple-leaves and full-grown rushes rustled in the autumn.

After Lunch

After eating lunch, I feel so sleepy.
Waking later, I sip two bowls of tea,

then notice shadows aslant, the sun
already low in the southwest again.