登金陵鳳凰台

李白

鳳凰台上鳳凰遊,鳳去台空江自流。

吳宮花草埋幽徑,晉代衣冠成故丘。

三山半落青天外,一水中分白鷺洲。

總為浮雲能蔽日,長安不見使人愁。

 

Ascending the Phoenix Terrace in Jinling
By Li Bai

Phoenix roamed here four hundred years ago,
A sign of the enchantment that once thrived;
Such emptiness now, no more feathers flow,
A lonely river is all that’s survived.

The lush garden of the grand Wu Palace
Is buried there beneath some nameless brush;
What’s left of the Jin court’s elegance?
Just those mounds of ancient decomposed mush!

The Three Mountains disappear into sky,
Aloof and azure, from whence egrets dive
To a remote river isle, safe and dry,
Two streams of the Yangtze onward strive.

My mind drifts to Chang’an, so far from here
And the Emperor whose fate is unclear;
I’ve heard dark clouds obscure his brilliant sky;
I wish, to his aid, a phoenix would fly.

libai

An ancient painting of Chinese poet Li Bai.

 

黃鶴樓

崔顥

昔人已乘黃鶴去,此地空餘黃鶴樓。

黃鶴一去不復返,白雲千載空悠悠。

晴川歷歷漢陽樹,芳草萋萋鸚鵡洲。

日暮鄉關何處是,煙波江上使人愁。

 

Yellow Crane Tower
By Cui Hao

A Taoist immortal once left this place,
Riding on the back of a yellow crane.
Lighter than the air, he left not a trace;
Only Yellow Crane Tower does remain.

The yellow crane, once gone, never returned;
One thousand years have flown by without wings.
The listless clouds for company have yearned,
But it’s something empty sky never brings.

Sunshine illumines the trees to the north
Of the Han River’s crystalline water.
From the verdant grass, sweet fragrance pours forth
As parrots on river islands gather.

Shadows from below creep up the tower;
I’ve no crane to ride at this late hour;
Which way leads to my home? I do not know,
O, misty river, I’ve so far to go!

 

Anonymous-Yellow_Crane_Tower_2

 

“Yellow Crane Tower” by anonymous, circa Ming Dynasty.

Evan Mantyk is a poet and English teacher living in New York. Chunlin Li is a professor living in New York.

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2 Responses

  1. Li "Web Crease" Du

    No Phoenix

    No phoenix frolicked on the Terrace at Jinling,
    when there Li Bai had been exiled from Chang’an.
    Now in the southern capital out east, Nanjing,
    where Sun’s bright rays, were raised to peace out west, Xi’an,
    Wu Palace is replaced by splendid, built-up sites,
    if not as gorgeous as the towers of Hong Kong,
    still beautiful to see, so scintillating, bright;
    although I’ve heard dark clouds obscure their brilliant skies.
    My mind drifts out to space. Once T’ang was bathed in light.
    Here wild geese above the climbing buildings fly,
    as yellow cranes are busy flapping metal wings.
    One thousand years the aimless clouds go by. Good bye.

    Reply

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