Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #20

#20
There is a man who lives
Halfway down the mountain.
He and his young daughter of eight years
Have joined me on walks by the river.
She has taken an interest in my old pipa
And I have taken her as a student.
It is the greatest delight of my old age
To have her fill my ears with music once more.
AD886

龙火花 Long HuoHua

Born Approx AD820 – Died AD895
Timeline Of Major Events During Long’s Life:

AD840 – Earliest known poems by Long
841 – Yu XuanJi is Born
846 – Bai JuYi dies
848 – Emperor Wuzong persecutes Buddhists, Shuts down temples across empire.
858 – Major flood killing tens of thousands (including XinMei) and destabilizing dynasty
863 – Long Starts affair with Yu XuanJi
866 – Long gets sent on official duty to Chongqing
867 – Yu XuanJi is Executed
875 – Huang Chao’s Rebellion
881 – Huang Chao Captures Chang’An
883 – Capitol retaken, Huang Chao Rebellion Ends
883 – Tang Dynasty Starts Decline
895 – Long HuoHua Dies
AD907 – Tang Dynasty Falls

Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #16

#16
Dragons Scale incense fills the air,
I watch her morning rituals from the bed.
Two fools who found each other in this life,
And yet she still finds the time to pray.
Holy priestess of the mountains,
Fragrant blossom of the most precarious peaks.
She has been overlooked by so many men,
But only because they don’t know what they seek.
I soak up this time with her,
Unworthy lover of her ancient soul.
Two temporary sparks in the dark,
Kindling this elusive flame of happiness.
AD864

龙火花 Long HuoHua

Born Approx AD820 – Died AD895
Timeline Of Major Events During Long’s Life:

AD840 – Earliest known poems by Long
841 – Yu XuanJi is Born
846 – Bai JuYi dies
848 – Emperor Wuzong persecutes Buddhists, Shuts down temples across empire.
858 – Major flood killing tens of thousands (including XinMei) and destabilizing dynasty
863 – Long Starts affair with Yu XuanJi
866 – Long gets sent on official duty to Chongqing
867 – Yu XuanJi is Executed
875 – Huang Chao’s Rebellion
881 – Huang Chao Captures Chang’An
883 – Capitol retaken, Huang Chao Rebellion Ends
883 – Tang Dynasty Starts Decline
895 – Long HuoHua Dies
AD907 – Tang Dynasty Falls

Dreams Of The Tang Dynasty #15

#15 Unable to Breathe Because of a Letter From the Capitol
In my chambers, unable to breathe,
All the color has left the world.
A letter arrived from Chang’An today,
I’ve read it a hundred times,
The characters make no sense to my eyes,
An official notice of execution.
The magistrate tells me it is true,
She waits for me now at the yellow springs.
But how can she be gone?
She came to me in my dreams last night.
AD867

龙火花 Long HuoHua

Born Approx AD820 – Died AD895
Timeline Of Major Events During Long’s Life:

AD840 – Earliest known poems by Long
841 – Yu XuanJi is Born
846 – Bai JuYi dies
848 – Emperor Wuzong persecutes Buddhists, Shuts down temples across empire.
858 – Major flood killing tens of thousands (including XinMei) and destabilizing dynasty
863 – Long Starts affair with Yu XuanJi
866 – Long gets sent on official duty to Chongqing
867 – Yu XuanJi is Executed
875 – Huang Chao’s Rebellion
881 – Huang Chao Captures Chang’An
883 – Capitol retaken, Huang Chao Rebellion Ends
883 – Tang Dynasty Starts Decline
895 – Long HuoHua Dies
AD907 – Tang Dynasty Falls

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #12

#12
Perched on the cliffside,
Overlooking a little mountain river.
I shift my wine jug on the stone,
Searching for a stable place to let it stand.
Bare trees, and a cool breeze,
A bird sings a spring song in the pines above.
Such peace is rare in these uncertain days,
But such beauty will live forever.
I smile down at the sparkling water,
And the sun reflects its smile back up at me.
AD848

龙火花 Long HuoHua

Born Approx AD820 – Died AD895
Timeline Of Major Events During Long’s Life:

AD840 – Earliest known poems by Long
841 – Yu XuanJi is Born
846 – Bai JuYi dies
848 – Emperor Wuzong persecutes Buddhists, Shuts down temples across empire.
858 – Major flood killing tens of thousands (including XinMei) and destabilizing dynasty
863 – Long Starts affair with Yu XuanJi
866 – Long gets sent on official duty to Chongqing
867 – Yu XuanJi is Executed
875 – Huang Chao’s Rebellion
881 – Huang Chao Captures Chang’An
883 – Capitol retaken, Huang Chao Rebellion Ends
883 – Tang Dynasty Starts Decline
895 – Long HuoHua Dies
AD907 – Tang Dynasty Falls

Dreams of The Tang Dynasty #10

#10
The first days after the fields are planted,
Peasant families all walk the river bank.
Young boys show off their strength,
Seeing who can climb the tallest trees.
Young girls sit with their mothers,
On bamboo mats in the grass.
Five old men sit on a rotten log,
Drinking cool wine and talking about the past.
All our sorrows and suffering,
Are merely paths to moments like these.
AD849

-龙火花 Long HuoHua

Born Approx AD820 – Died AD895
Timeline Of Major Events During Long’s Life:

AD840 – Earliest known poems by Long
841 – Yu XuanJi is Born
846 – Bai JuYi dies
848 – Emperor Wuzong persecutes Buddhists, Shuts down temples across empire.
858 – Major flood killing tens of thousands (including XinMei) and destabilizing dynasty
863 – Long Starts affair with Yu XuanJi
866 – Long gets sent on official duty to Chongqing
867 – Yu XuanJi is Executed
875 – Huang Chao’s Rebellion
881 – Huang Chao Captures Chang’An
883 – Capitol retaken, Huang Chao Rebellion Ends
883 – Tang Dynasty Starts Decline
895 – Long HuoHua Dies
AD907 – Tang Dynasty Falls

Memories of Green

Working on a drawing of a blossom tree
With “Memories of Green” playing mellow,
Playing melancholy in the yellow incandescence.
Lapsang Souchong and a lonely heart
Make this man long for the subtle energies of a woman tonight.
Amidst the jazz music and traditional Chinese paintings
He doesn’t have the characters for how he feels,
Nor the words, nor the time,
Nor the paint to picture it.
Sometimes all a man wants
Is quiet eyes and soft lips,
Contently scheming as she sits on his couch.
Most of the time – he has to go without
And so he draws
He writes
He walks
He drinks tea that tastes like dreams of her
And he waits
Patiently
Knowing that eventually
He will find her
But not tonight
Not tonight
“Memories of Green” and dark sumi
“Memories of Green” under the yellow light.

Living in the Summer Mountains – Yu Xuanji

If I could travel back in time 1100 years, I would find this woman and marry her.

Living in the Summer Mountains

I have moved to this home of Immortals.
Wild shrubs bloom everywhere.
In the front garden, trees
Spread their branches for clothes racks.
I sit on a mat and float wine cups
In the cool spring.
Beyond the window railing
A hidden path leads away
Into the dense bamboo grove.
In a gauze dress
I read among my disordered
Piles of books.
I take a leisurely ride
In the painted boat,
And chant poems to the moon.
I drift at ease, for I know
The soft wind will blow me home.

……

On a Visit to Ch’ung Chen Taoist Temple
I See In The South Hall The List of
Successful Candidates in The Imperial Examinations

Cloud capped peaks fill the eyes
In the Spring sunshine.
Their names are written in beautiful characters
And posted in order of merit.
How I hate this silk dress
That conceals a poet.
I lift my head and read their names
In a powerless envy.

-Yu Hsuan-Chi
-Yu XuanJi

Translated by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung

Sundown Song

It’s when the descending sun
Is level with the curtain hook

That spring along this river
Is at its very best.

Good smells surround the gardens
Along the riverbank

A column of smoke from the beach
Where boatmen cook their dinners

Steadily chattering sparrows
Fight to roost in the evening trees

Gnats and mayflies swarm
In the air of my front yard

Oh cup of cloudy wine
You too are a gift

A sip or two of you dissolves
All my little worries.

-Tu Fu 760’s A.D.

From David Young’ s translation “Du Fu: A Life in Poetry”
Available on Amazon and if you like Tu Fu then I can’t recommend it enough. Best translations since Rexroth.

From: The Journey North

Well, now I’m coming home
From troubles of my own

And with hair gone white
I wonder if they’ll know me

Here’s my wife at last
Wearing a much-patched dress

Crying to see me here
Sighing like wind in the pine trees

Sobbing uncontrollably
Like any babbling brook

And here’s my boy, all pale,
The jewel that crowns my life

He turns his back to me
Ashamed of his own weeping

I see his dirty feet
He has no shoes or socks

And there are my two daughters
Their clothes all patched as well

Too small for them, with images
All crazy and mismatched

A dragon and a phoenix
Turned upside down to mending

I feel age overcome me
And take me to my bed, all nauseous

Three days until I am better
but meanwhile I’ve brought

A bag of silks to help them
Dress against the cold

And some bedding for them
And a few cosmetics

My wife’s face takes on color
The little girls’ as well

They start to play with makeup
To imitate their mother

They overdo the rouge
And paint on crooked eyebrows

Just being with my children
Restores my strength and spirits

I’d rather have them pester me
And shower me with questions

Than ever have to deal again
With rebels and their ways.

– Tu Fu 750’s A.D.

From David Young’ s translation “Du Fu: A Life in Poetry”
Available on Amazon and if you like Tu Fu then I can’t recommend it enough. Best translations since Rexroth.

She Smokes The Cigarette of Futility

She counts the trains
Going by outside her window
Like the minutes of her life
And the love which
Walked out her door
So many times before.
She smokes the cigarette of futility
And wets her pillow with regret
Waiting in the darkness
For a man she will never see again.

………..

Watched a movie called Millenium Mambo and felt I needed to write this.

Insomnia – Lu Yu

Even when I fall asleep early,
My nights are long and full of bitterness.
Tonight, tortured with insomnia,
Memories of the past flood back
Until they have exhausted me.
Alone in the house beside a smokey lamp,
I rub my heavy eyelids
And idly turn the pages of my notebook.
Again and again I scratch my head
And trim my brush and stir the heavy ink.
The hours go by. The moon comes
And stands in the open door,
White and shining like molten silver.
Suddenly I am back, sailing on Ts’ai Fong River
With the fellows of my youth,
Back in Yuen village.
Oh wonderful mountains! Oh noble boys!
How is it that I have lived so long
And never once gone back to visit you?
-Lu Yu

Translated by Kenneth Rexroth

Pulled From The Sea

The bird chirps its worship song
The bird chirps its worship song.
The bamboo knocks together,
A living wind chime.
I drink my black tea
Hot and earthy.
It tastes like the goodness
God spoke of when He
Pulled the land out of the sea,
I sit,
Quietly awestruck.

Some people
Some people,
Are like the fish
Which swam over the waterfall.
They will never find home again.

Desolation
Play your flute Shigeru,
Strum those strings,
With your eastern hunger for truth,
And your eastern sorrow for not finding any.

Chinese Christians
What might it be like
To meet God
After six thousand years
Of atheism.

Help me remember
Help me remember
Your love.
Help me remember
The sweetness
Of Your water.
Help me remember
The invigorating joy
Of walking in your light.