Lamenting the Absence of a Cherished Friend 1 Though small my basket, all my toil Filled it with mouse-ears but in part. I set it on the path, and sighed For the dear master of my heart. 2 My steeds, o’ertasked, their progress stayed, When midway up that rocky height. Give me a cup from […]

Shih Ching – The Poetry Classic Shih Ching – The Poetry Classic

Lamenting the Absence of a Cherished Friend
1

Though small my basket, all my toil
Filled it with mouse-ears but in part.
I set it on the path, and sighed
For the dear master of my heart.

2
My steeds, o’ertasked, their progress stayed,
When midway up that rocky height.
Give me a cup from that gilt vase,
When shall this longing end in sight?

3
To mount that lofty ridge I drove,
Until my steeds all changed their hue.
A cup from that rhinoceros’s horn
May help my longing to subdue.

4
Striving to reach that flat-topped hill,
My steeds, worn out, relaxed their strain;
My driver also sank oppressed:
I’ll never see my lord again!

James Legge

Shih Ching #16
This sweet pear, this great shady tree
Don’t you dare prune it, much less cut at it!
The good Lord Shao found
friendly shade beneath once.

This sweet pear, this great shady tree
Don’t you dare clip it, much less do damage to it!
The good Lord Shao spoke true beneath it often.

This sweet pear, this great shady tree
Don’t you dare clip, don’t bend a twig of it…
Here the good Lord Shao gave honest judgement, always.

J.P. Seaton

Collecting Kudzu Vine
He went away to collect kudzu vine.
One day’s absence
is as long as three months.

He went away to collect wormwood.
One day’s absence
is as long as three seasons.

He went away to collect moxa.
One day’s absence
is as long as three years.

Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping

No 5. Grasshopper Wings
Grasshopper wings,
swarms and swarms of them:
right that your sons and grandsons
should prosper and thrive!

Grasshopper wings,
files and files of them:
right that your sons and grandsons
should earn’ on the line!

Grasshopper wings,
droves and droves of them:
right that your sons and grandsons
should make up a throng!

Burton Watson

Shih Ching 17
Might I have walked the dewy paths with thee,
just before the dawning of the say?
Say it was a drenching dew indeed…

Who would say the bird has no beak,
when it has bored its way into my chamber.
Who would say your clan’s not powerful,
that has brought me before this judge?
But though you have dragged me before this judge,
I swear that you shall not marry me!
Who would say that rat has no teeth,
when clearly hath it breached my wall.
Who would say your clan’s not powerful,
that has brought me before this judge?
But though you have dragged me before this judge,
I swear I shall never follow you!

J.P. Seaton

Chirp chirp the katydids
Chirp chirp the katydids,
hop hop the hoppers:
before I’ve seen my lord,
my grieving heart quails,
but once I’ve seen him,
once I’ve laid eyes on him,
then my heart is calm.

I climb that southern hill,
there pick its ferns:
before I’ve seen my lord,
my grieving heart is pained,
but once I’ve seen him, once
I’ve laid eves on him, then my heart is glad.

I climb that southern hill,
there pick its ferns:
before I’ve seen my lord,
my heart is hurt and sore,
but once I’ve seen him,
once I’ve laid eyes on him,
then my heart’s at rest.

Burton Watson

In the Wilds There’s a Dead Deer
In the wilds there’s a dead deer
all wrapped in bleached reeds,
and there’s a girl feeling spring
as her fair love brings her on.

In the woods there’s thicket oak,
in the wilds there’s a dead deer
tangled tight in bleached reeds,
and there’s a girl, skin like jade.

Slowly. oh yes, slip it off slowly,
my skirt, oh yes, don’t muss it,
and don’t start that dog barking.

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