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Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to editor@pnreview.co.uk

This poem is taken from PN Review 256, Volume 47 Number 2, November - December 2020.

Wong May translates Du Fu Du Fu
Visiting a Nephew

To rinse rice
        Draw less
Water
    Drawing much,
    You muddy the well,
Cutting down wild ferns for food,
    Don’t let go your hand
    Let go your hand,

    You hurt the root.



Not Seeing Li Bai

Not seeing  Li Bai
For a time
I begin to fear for him.

My friend
With talent enough to kill,

 : Be killed.
It’s as well he was thought
Crazy.

Am I alone in loving that talent
Goddamn talent
One would wish on no man?

The speed with which he knocks out verses,
You will want the poet locked up & dealt with,

& his drinking manners,
              The insolence!
Drunk as a lord
Wherever he can make merry.

Friend,
Go to Guan Mountains
With your library

Come back
The day your grey head is
White.



Dreaming of Li Bai

Parted by death, we choke,
Knock back the sobs.

Parted alive
Lifelong – we breathe
With regrets.

South of the river, miasma rules the swamps.
Not a word since your exile,
In dreams often
You made your visit
 Knowing how I miss you.
Your soul,   
      Late of the living,
Blown in at first light
With the glint of green maples, out
Of the frontier gate ‘ere the black night
Claims you.
They have netted you in the other world
The forces that be.
On parole,
Where did you get those wings & feathers?

Uncannily bright,
The moon too
Has no place to hide,
         Crashing through the roof-rafters
As it leaves the sky –
My absent friend
      I begin to dream in your colours.

The waves ahead are steep &
Perilous

We are handing ourselves  
Over to dragons,
Friend

Mind the dragons
& other watery monsters.



Thinking of Li Bai from One End of the Sky

A cool wind arises from one end of the sky.

My friend, I cannot vouch for your intent.
Migratory birds arrive & part
Do we hold them to their schedule?
How full of water are the lakes & rivers
In Autumn!

Good writing
Resents happy circumstances.
Good writers are rarely spared.
The demons of this world
Their gargoyle faces
Are made glad
Whenever men of talent hobble.

One ought to have a chat
With poets of the land
Purported to have
Drowned.
           The wronged souls
Whether freezing water is their element.

                           But for the likes of one
We won’t see again,
Fish, fiends & friends

I throw this poem

Into the Miluo River.



Resigned

Resigned from court!
Setting off each day
With Spring clothes
                     To the pawnshop,
Drink at the pier-head till drunk,
      – Who goes home sober?
Known for wine-debts everywhere
I have been around long enough;
‘Rare for a man to reach three score & ten’
Rare old times, chum,
When out of the deep seams of blossoms,
Butterflies,
Are seen
             With darning needles, &
In keeping with the surface of the water
Dragonflies swim, I mean
             Take wing

Go spread the word
We shall do our rounds
Here on earth with
                Pleasure
For pleasure,

The while
                Blameless.

This poem is taken from PN Review 256, Volume 47 Number 2, November - December 2020.



Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to editor@pnreview.co.uk
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