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Gold
By Moshe Ibn Ezra
Why is my beloved so haughty,     and why is He so angry with me?Before Him why do I shake like a reed?He's forgotten how I walked in the wildernessafter Him—and doesn't respond,…
Translated from Hebrew by Peter Cole
In Reply to P’ei Ti
The cold river spreads boundless away. Autumn rains darken azure-deep skies. You ask about WholeSouth Mountain: the mind knows beyond white clouds. From Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry of Ancient…
Translated from Chinese
In the Mountains, Sent to Ch’an Brothers and Sisters
Dharma companions filling mountains, a sangha1 forms of itself: chanting, sitting ch'an2 stillness. Looking out from distant city walls, people see only white clouds. 1A community of Buddhist practitioners.…
Translated from Chinese
In Reply to Su, Who Visited My WheelRim River Hermitage When I Wasn’t There to Welcome Him
By Wang Wei
I live humbly near the canyon’s mouthwhere stately trees ring village ruins.When you came on twisted rocky paths,who welcomed you at my mountain gate?Fishing boats frozen into icy shallows,hunting…
Translated from Chinese by David Hinton
Mourning Yin Yao
Returning you to StoneTower Mountain, we bid farewell among ash-green pine and cyprus, then return home. Of your bones, now buried white cloud, this much remains forever: streams cascading empty toward…
Translated from Chinese
BirdCry Creek
In our idleness, cinnamon blossoms fall. In night quiet, spring mountains stand empty. Moonrise startles mountain birds: here and there, cries in a spring gorge. From Mountain Home: The Wilderness Poetry…
Translated from Chinese
Adrift on the Lake
Autumn sky illuminates itself all empty distances away toward far human realms, cranes off horizons of sand tracing its clarity into mountains beyond clouds. Crystalline waters quiet settling night. Moonlight…
Translated from Chinese
On Returning to WheelRim River
At the canyon's mouth, a far-off bell stirs. Woodcutters and fishermen scarcer still, sunset distant in these distant mountains, I verge on white clouds, returning alone. Frail water-chestnut vines…
Translated from Chinese
In Reply to Vice-Magistrate Chang
In these twilight years, I love tranquility alone. Mind free of our ten thousand affairs, self-regard free of all those grand schemes, I return to my old forest, knowing empty. Soon mountain moonlight…
Translated from Chinese
The Promise
I don't look over my shoulder, no idea where I'm going and not an ounce of fear, falling like fluff from an eiderdown quilt and piercing the afternoon air, real as an hour of solitude or the fragrance…
Translated from Slovenian
Karbala as Court Case
Karbala is a medium-sized city in central Iraq, recently the scene of violent clashes between U.S. troops and Iraqi militants loyal to the young Shi'a cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. But for Shi'a Muslims…
Translated from Urdu
Two Poems
The Oracles of the Virgin Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.–Oscar Wilde Buried inside us were the sounds of the words our parents managed to utter in the moment of intercourse…
Translated from Greek
Brothers
By Paola Capriolo
Two brothers, the first two brothers. Conceived on the threshold of paradise, so to speak, when Adam and Eve, driven out by the cherubim with the flaming sword that turned every way, took up residence…
Translated from Italian by Lawrence Venuti
from Songs of Friendship and Love
By Pavel Lembersky
Snoopy Goes to KasimovI used to torture myself over the question, I was baffled by it: to what could I attribute the incontrovertible fact of my total lack of literary talent? A fluke of nature? Blind…
Translated from Russian by Jane Ann Miller
Unanswered Plea
I learn things by myself, which is why it takes so long. I'm asking you to be patient. That's not asking much. I learn by myself, learn to cross the village, it's not every day I recognize…
Translated from Slovenian
How to Read a Translation
By Lawrence Venuti
Among the many pronouncements that have shaped our understanding of literary translation, perhaps none is more often echoed than John Dryden’s preface to his version of the Aeneid. “I have…
Mourning Meng Hao-jan
My dear friend* nowhere in sight, this Han River keeps flowing east. Now, if I look for old masters here, I find empty rivers and mountains. *Meng Hao-jan was another of China's great poets and Wang…
Translated from Chinese
The Two Boys
By Anonymous (from George Borrow)
Two Romany boys were sent,sent across the great sea.Plato for brawling,Lasho for stealingthe purse of a great lady.And when they came to the other land,The land that's over the sea,Plato was quicklyhung,…
Translated from Romany by Peter Constantine
Multilingual
Anadl Llywelyn
For the English translation, please click here. (ar achlysur Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Llanelwedd) Mae'r ffin yn y cyffiniau, pridd ei gwytnwch yn parhau i serio'i hanes ar wyneb erwau ein hiaith,…
Translated from Welsh
A Clean Kill
By Radwa Ashur
In Death in the Afternoon, Hemingway says: “The only place where you could see life and death, i.e., violent death now that the wars were over, was in the bull ring and I wanted very much to go…
Translated from Arabic by Gretchen Head
When the Snow Melted
By Ba Jin
A spring breeze ruffled my hair; at the foot of the hills a thaw had set in. It is usually cold when the snow melts, but today the long-hidden sun finally made an appearance. I put on a coat and started…
Translated from Chinese by Tang Sheng
Scots: The Auld an Nobill Tung
What is Scots? Is it Gaelic? A dialect of English? English with a Gaelic brogue? A hodgepodge of English and Gaelic? In fact, none of the above. Scots is “ane o the wee leids o Europe, ane o the…
from “The Wind from the East”
By Almudena Grandes
When the Olmedo family arrived at their new home a strong easterly wind, the Levanter, was blowing. It blew the house's canvas awnings so high it appeared they would come free of their aluminum frames,…
Translated from Spanish by Samantha Schnee
Oot Here Mae Lane
By Charlie Gillen
I lift't the harnesh fae ahint the oul doar, whur it haes hug fae iver I mine, The cullar an' hames maybe ouler than me, an' a bit o' a ravell't oul'…
Translated from Ullans by Charlie Gillen
Love Song
By Anonymous (from George Borrow)
The pond of your breastsMy pillow shall be;Your eyes my moonsLike silver shine.Wait, my girl!Don't go away:What if I will not see you,Ever again?
Translated from Romanian by Peter Constantine
Multilingual
On the Island
–based on Yami myths 1 The island is by the sea, and the sea by the island Our island is a tiny, motionless ship Tsunami turned the ship into a cradle The waves dashed toward the mountaintop, splitting…
Translated from Chinese
BAMBOO DWELLING
Sitting alone within a hidden bamboo grove plucking the qin repeating long howls in a deep forest no one knows bright moon illuminates the harmony “Nine…
Translated from Chinese
MARCHING ON THE NINTH DAY OF THE NINTH MONTH THINKING OF THE CHANGAN HOMELAND
A strong desire to climb high No one comes to offer wine So forlorn for distant homeland chrysanthemums that must be in bloom near a field of war …
Translated from Chinese
WEST LAKE
At last at West Lake it's the sixth moon-month Wind light sights unlike any four seasons Sky-linked lotus leaves endless jade-blue Sun- light bright on water lily bloom…
Translated from Chinese
Poem to the Tune “Pure Peace”
By Li Bai
Spring / wind through the threshold
Translated from Chinese by Jeffrey Yang
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