Tune pattern: Jiang chengzi
Along the autumn shoal, the evening sun catches sails
of the few boats still fishing in the shallows.
I stand close by, overshadowed by the rocky headlands.
My eyes fall on the opposite bank, then on scattered yellow leaves.
Suddenly I hear the horizontal notes of a flute
But I cannot see the riding cowherd.
Azure sky, dim haze, prolonged dusk.
Thoughts weave together as I rise and fall in dreams.
Such fine moments pass.
Leaves have fallen from last night’s clear frost:
A thousand mountain slopes laid bare.
The mountains do not speak: the river flows into silence.
Translated by Hans H. Frankel and Ian Boyden
[This poem first appeared in the artist book Peach Blossom Fish (Crab Quill Press, 1999.]