Friday, 27 January 2012

New Year Melodies

Two poems, the first my translation of "Bian River Blocked By Ice" by Dù Mù (803-852), the second an attempt to write something similar myself.

River Blocked by Ice

All along the river's length, it begins to freeze.
Tinkling sounds of jade on jade sputter in the breeze.
Such is this sporadic life, day and night it goes,
Like the waters under ice, east yet no-one knows.

— Dù Mù (trans. —okei) 

Path Full of Leaves

Autumn crackles under foot, slow the path descends,
Amber in the morning light, fuel for new ends.
When the vultures circle high, when my force is spent,
May I know how spring must feel, this life heaven-sent.



  1. Okei, I just started a books and movie group, where we can discuss Ghost in the Shell.... sent you an invite.... add anyone you think might enjoy it.

  2. Thanks Nancy! I've accepted. Can you post the link, or I will when I get to a computer.

  3. I loved your poem.... crackling leaves are a favorite thing of mine... but originally I had a recurring nightmare as a child that made me terrified of the sound!

    The poem is lovely!

    Did you get the first posts from the book&movie site? I started us off...

  4. I got an e-mail notification, but can't respond yet, so I'll copy this to your post when I get to a computer. My first anime was Chihiro by Miyazaki, and he was the only director I'd seen before this one by Oshii which is supposed to be the first adult anime. All Miyazaki's films are consistently quality, he's like the Hitchcock of Japanese cinema. The only thing I'd add to my review is personally I prefer not to watch in a dubbed version. This makes it harder to catch the details of the picture, but the audio and for me the whole feel of the movie is more genuine.

  5. Very interesting.... yes copy and paste this in the book/movie site as soon as you can.

  6. Done! A Shout-out to everyone, welcome to join Nancy's new group here:

    I'll leave the link with people whom I think might be interested in the coming days, but I'm not sure if I know too many who use Multiply regularly these days.

  7. I miss autumn. Used to be my favorite season of the year.
    Lovely, your poems Okei. Brought back memories. Hope all is well with you over there!

  8. All ok, thank you! Wishing you a happy end to the month ;-) I mean happy birthday of course!!!

  9. aww you remembered! thanks. feeling positively archaic...

  10. I don't know, but if we are seekers, we must go *deep*!

  11. So much can be said about the seasons and our feelings toward them

    Bian River Blocked By Ice" by Dù Mù (803-852), that is going back some time.
    Enjoyed the share

  12. Indeed! The 9th century (end of Tang dynasty) was the peak of the short form of Chinese poetry.

    China's very interesting because the idea of good governance etc. and the problems of corruption is something they had been struggling with long before the West. Plato had this idea that the best rulers would be philosopher-kings, but almost at the same time as him this idea was actually being done in practice in ancient China with a very meritocratic system of giving government jobs to those who could pass some very difficult exams, and they have continued to use this system almost continuously since then. But of course, those in power would bribe the system to get their children into high position also, and so the system was also almost always corrupt.

    Dù Mù is some low-ranking official in the provinces, with the noble intentions of all officials of doing good and improving the lives of the people under his control. But he soon becomes disenchanted, probably disempowered by reality, and loses himself in wine, women and... of course poetry, in which he expresses his frustration and the feeling of time wasted.

  13. If Philosopher-Rulers alone know what is best for all. I'm not so sure or convinced of that, but we haven't been doing well the other way so who am I to say which is better till I see it's rule in action.
    I'm such a suspicious soul at times

  14. No, it didn't work. For one thing, I think the rulers kept the people stupid, secondly it prejudiced existing knowledge in its selection system as opposed to creativity, and thirdly because everything is based on language, it cemented the elite who had been brought up with the correct dialect, just as in the world today English speakers have a headstart because English is lingua franca.

    What I didn't know is that the system we have today in the West was inspired and based on China.

  15. Interesting links-still learning I guess