The Ten Scenes of West Lake: Poems | China Heritage Quarterly
The Ten Scenes of West Lake
Poems by Zhang Dai 張岱
Photographs by Lois Conner
Translated by Duncan Campbell
The Australian National University
Twin Peaks Piercing Clouds
Each peak resembles a superior man,
Come together they now converse.
Here in this place is to be found West Lake,
And West Lake it is that holds me here.
Moon Reflected on Three Ponds
Cold the breath of the lake, colder than ice,
Light the rays of the moon, as light as snow.
Happy to give it over to the three pools,
The people of Hangzhou gaze not upon the moon.
Lingering Snow upon Break-Off Bridge
Tall willows shade the long embankment,
Through scattered leaves leak the rays of a waning moon.
With confident stride I pace the sand beneath the pines,
Thinking for a moment that perhaps it is snow upon which I tread.
Evening Bell-toll at South Screen Mountain
Evening's breath rises from South Screen,
The gentle breeze seems as thin as paper.
From the temple beyond comes the toll of the evening bell,
Gliding over the empty river's flow.
Spring Dawn Breaking Over Su Embankment
Misty willows shroud the peach blossoms,
Like red jade sunk within an autumnal river.
Too delicate to bear the weight of her robes,
The Lady of the West has just awoken from her slumbers.
Breeze Amongst the Lotuses of Brewing Courtyard
Faces flushed red still from their cups,
Their mouths opening with gusts of laughter.
What is it that has made the lotus drunk?
The warm breeze, after all, has the power of wine.
Listening to Orioles Amidst Billowing Willows
Deep within the willows the yellow orioles cry,
Their crisp notes echoing in the empty greenness.
If you truly are a poet by nature,
Then you will not compete with drum and pipe.
Glow of Sunset upon Thunder Peak
The ruined pagoda at home on the banks of the lake,
Shambolic as a drunken old man.
Extraordinary feelings are to be found here amidst the shards,
What need does it have for the arts of man?
Autumnal Moon Reflected in a Calm Lake
In the autumn firmament appears the shining moon,
Its chill breath entering the stately trees.
In silence one listens to the lone flying swallow,
Its cry light, the heavens so high.
Viewing Fish at Flower Harbour
How I hate this Life Releasing Pond,
A prison for the blameless fish.
Coming today to Flower Harbour,
Why should I stand for the restraints of fellow man?