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Stone Gate Temple in the Blue Field Mountains
by
Wang Wei


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Creeks and summits are brilliant at sunset.
I laze in a boat, my way in the wind's hands.

Watching wild landscapes I forget distance
and come to the water's edge.

Gazing at lovely far woods and clouds
I guess I've lost my way.

How could I know this lucid stream
would turn, leading me into mountains?

I abandon my boat, pick up a light staff
and come upon something wonderful,

four or five old monks in contemplation,
enjoying the shade of pines and cypresses.

Before the forest dawns they read Sanskrit.
Their nightly meditation quiets the peaks.

Here even shepherd boys know the Dao.
Woodcutters bring in worldly news.

They sleep at night in the woods
with incense, on mats clean as jade.

Their robes are steeped in valley fragrances;
the stone cliffs shine under a mountain moon.

I fear I will lose this refuge forever
so at daybreak I fix it in my mind.

People of Peach Tree Spring goodbye.
I'll be back when flowers turn red.

 

Translated by Willis Barnstone.
This poem is in the public domain.

 

 

Purchase a framed print of this poem.

 

Wang Wei (698–759) was a Chinese poet, musician, and painter. Both his paintings and his poems focused largely on nature; Wei is considered the founder of Southern Chinese landscape art. Sadly, none of Wei’s original paintings are known to have survived, but more than 400 of his poems are preserved in anthologies and collections.

 

 


Post New Comment:
Cindy:
the promise and hope in small children;a beautiful poem
Posted 03/11/2015 08:47 AM
Katrina:
I feel almost ashamed to say so here, but I am so glad I am on this side of the Atlantic. [Maybe it is because my sister used to work for an international oil pollution compensation fund (to compensate countries whose wildlife was damaged by oil spillages) and the United States refused to contribute in spite of their massive dependency on 'gas'.] We must do more to extend the beauty.
Posted 03/10/2015 07:13 AM
Dorcas:
Absolutely filled by foreverness.
Posted 03/09/2015 11:46 PM


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