Friday, March 18, 2016

on the highest tower in White Emperor Castle

on the highest tower in White Emperor Castle

on the walls the way’s sharp, narrow: in waning sun, pennants
    signal mourning—
upright, alone, indistinct in silken mist, he rises to the tower

in the gorge cleft: cloud & fog where dragon & tiger sleep—
the sun-drenched Yangzi enfolds roaming turtles & alligators

western limbs of the Fusang Tree meet this severed stone;
eastern shadow of the Ruo River accompanies its long current

on my goosefoot cane, sighing for this generation: who will inherit it?
weep blood for the rush of empty cycles, bright chancellor

Jack Hayes
© 2015
based on Du Fu:
báidìchéng zuì gāo lóu

Note: for a more conventional translation of this poem, see this post (1/3/18)

White Emperor Castle refers to Baidicheng

Image links to its source on Wiki Commons:
Báidìmiào (White Emperor Temple): Tomasz Dunn
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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