Translated by Lan Hua

The Yu Gong Valley – I

Heading into a valley
Quite simply traveling
With nobody else
But Master Li
To accompany me

Nothing is needed
For either of us
Except a place to sleep
Empty and carefree

Content without regard
Whether it’s spring or summer
Or whichever way
East or west may lie

Unknowing
Just like a child
That’s how it feels
Lowly and lofty
At one and the same time

愚谷与谁去 – 唯将黎子同
非须一处住 – 不那两心空
宁问春将夏 – 谁论西复东
不知吾与子 – 若个是愚公

 

The Yu Gong Valley – II

A simple home
In a simple valley
A valley at first that
Looks so unbecoming

Although we travelers
Leave not a trace
Still the valley resounds
With an answering cry

And to a cloudless sky
Comes the onset of darkness
Followed soon enough
By day’s bright return

Here’s the true meaning
Of this place
Simple valley
From simplicity itself
Everything else derives

吾家愚谷里 – 此谷本来平
虽则行无迹 – 还能响应声
不随云色暗 – 只待日光明
缘底名愚谷 – 都由愚所成

 

The Yu Gong Valley – III

To find this valley
So lofty but plain
Depends on nothing
But a careful search

Not looking all over
For some remote spot
Because this place
Lies closer at hand

Traveling once
It can be reached
Without much trouble
But to abide in its presence
Requires greater depth

Living by the word
As mortality’s guest
When desire takes hold
It’s to this simple place
The mind returns

借问愚公谷 – 与君聊一寻
不寻翻到谷 – 此谷不离心
行处曾无险 – 看时岂有深
寄言尘世客 – 何处欲归临

 

Lan Hua is a writer and translator based in New York.  His translations of Chinese poetry are available online at www.tangspirit.net  and his own poetry is available online at  lampoetry.blogspot.com

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