Tang Dynasty Poems: Visions of Paradise24 March, 2010 at 09:49 | Posted in Chinese culture, Tang Dynasty | 6 Comments
Tags: ancient chinese poetry, chinese art, Chinese culture, poem of Tang Dynasty
Endless Yearning (I)
I am endlessly yearning
To be in Changan,
Insects hum of autumn by the gold brim of the well
A thin frost glistens like little mirrors on my cold mat,
The high lantern flickers, and deeper grows my longing
I lift the shade and, with many a sigh, gaze upon the moon,
Single as a flower, centred from the clouds
Above, I see the blueness and deepness of the sky
Below, I see the greenness and the restlessness of water…
Heaven is high, Earth wide, bitter between them flies my sorrows
Can I dream through the gateway, over the mountain?
Breaks my heart.
A Visit to Sky-Mother Mountain in a Dream
So, longing in my dreams for Wu and Yue
One night I flew over Mirror Lake under the moon,
The moon cast my shadow on the water
And travelled with me all the way to Shanxi,
The lodge of Lord Xie still remained
Where green waters swirled and the cry of apes was shrill,
Donning the shoes of Xie
I climbed the dark ladder of clouds,
Midway, I saw the sun rise from the sea
Heard the Cock of Heaven crow,
And my path twisted through a thousand crags
Enchanted by flowers I leaned against a rock
And suddenly all was dark,
Growls of bears and snarls of dragons echoed
Among the rocks and streams,
The deep forest appalled me, I shrank from the lowering cliffs,
Dark were the clouds, heavy with rain
Waters boiled into misty spray,
Lightening flashed, thunder roared
Peaks tottered, boulders crashed,
And the stone gate of a great cavern
Below me, a bottomless void of blue
Sun and moon gleaming on terraces of silver and gold,
With rainbows for garments, and winds for horses
The lords of the clouds descended, a mighty host,
Phoenixes circled the chariots, tigers played zithers
As the immortals went by, rank upon rank.
A Ballad of Heaven
The River of Heaven wheels round at night
Drifting the circling stars,
At Silver Bank, the floating clouds
Mimic the murmur of water.
By the Palace of Jade the cassia blossoms
Have not yet fallen,
Fairy maidens gather their fragrance
For their dangling girdle-sachets.
The Princess from Ch’in rolls up her blinds,
Dawn at the north casement.
In front of the window, a planted kola nut
Dwarfs the blue phoenix.
The King’s son plays his pipes
Long as goose quills,
Summoning dragons to plough the mist
And plant Jade Grass.
Sashes of pink as clouds at dawn
Skirts of lotus-root silk,
They walk on Blue Island, gathering
Fresh orchids in spring.
She points to Hsi Ho in the east
Deftly urging his steeds,
While land begins to rise from the sea
And stone hills wear away.
On the Way Back to the Old Residence
Travelling to Heaven in dreams
There is another space and dimension in the kettle
Overlook the human Earth,
That is easily withered and rotten.
Ling Xu Mountain
Leaving the human world
Going toward the path to Heaven;
Upon Consummation through cultivation,
Then follow the clouds to Heaven,
Caves hidden under pine trees,
Deep and unseen among the peach blossoms;
It is evident in the Tang dynasty poetry that they believe to be a human being on Earth is not the sole purpose of life. Tang people understood that reaching the happiness of heaven through cultivation and Consummation is the goal to be achieved. This is the predominant message that Tang poems have passed down to us.
All paintings by Zhang Cuiying