25 October 2012

Poem for the week - by Li Bai

Something exotic this week, full of images. The poet, Li Bai, lived in the Tang dynasty (a period of progress and stability) - his dates are 701-761.  In New Poems on the Underground 2006 the poem is illustrated by calligraphy -

Listening to a Monk from Shu playing the Lute

The monk from Shu with his green lute-case walked
Westward down Emei Shan, and at the sound
Of the first notes he strummed for me I heard
A thousand valleys’ rustling pines resound.
My heart was cleansed, as if in flowing water.
In bells of frost I heard the resonance die.
Dusk came unnoticed over the emerald hills
And autumn clouds layered the darkening sky.
translated by Vikram Seth

I also found the poem here, where there's a lovely photo of "emerald hills". Mount Emei (Emei Shan), a Unesco World Heritage Site, is one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China, and the location of the first Buddhist temple built in China.

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