Category: Poems by – 吴承恩 (1501-1582)


《樵歌子》《A Woodcutter Song》Wu Chen En

觀棋柯爛          Watching a game of chess I drop into a timeless sphere
伐木丁丁          As a woodcutter I fell trees in spree
雲邊谷口徐行  At the valley where clouds edge I stroll
賣薪沽酒          Selling firewood I go
狂笑自陶情      Laughing to echo the spirit of poet Tao
蒼逕秋高          Deep in autumn the hill paths are still green
對月枕松根      On a pine root pillow I lie to sleep under moonshine
一覺天明          Till dawn I wake up feeling fine Continue reading

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Wu ChengEn (1501-1582) “Woodcutter’s Song
Translated by William John Francis Jenner (b. 1940)*

Watching the chess game I cut through the rotten,
Felling trees, chop, chop.
Strolling at the edge of the cloud and the mouth of the valley,
I sell firewood to buy wine,
Cackling with laughter and perfectly happy.

By a green path in autumn,
I pillow myself on a pine root, looking up at the moon.
When I wake up it is light.
Recognizing the old forest
I scale cliffs and cross ridges,
Cutting down withered creepers with my axe.

When I’ve gathered enough to make a load
I walk down to the market with a song.
And trade it for three pints of rice.
Nobody else competes with me,
So prices are stable.
I don’t speculate or try sharp practice,
Couldn’t care less what people think of me,
Calmly lengthening my days.
The people I meet
Either Taoists or Immortals,
Quietly sitting to expound the Yellow Court.
* British sinologist/translator

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