Sun-block Peak

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View from top of Sandiequan on Lushan

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Sun-block Peak
        Su Shi 1036-1101

Changan's not that far off,
This man of Shu 
        bitterly yearns to return.
Don't let Jiaoming block the sun.
I give up!
        just call it 
                Little Emei.
Sū Shì 1036-1101

Chángān zì bù yuǎn,
Shǔ kè kǔsī guī.
Mò jiàomíng zhàng rí,
Huànzhuò Xiǎo Éméi.
Translator: Dongbo 東波

Su Shi was always one to make the best of a bad situation. Here he is on misty Lushan, where the mountain is blanketed in mist more than 200 days each year. He wishes he could return to his home in Sichuan and prays that Sunblock mountain will not block the sun and the way home. But then, realizing it is an impossible prayer he makes the best of it by naming the peak Little Emei, after Emeishan, the 2000 meter tall mountain near his home town of Meishan in Sichuan.

Many thanks to 何予明 Yuming He, now Assistant Professor in Chinese Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, who helped me with this poem when she was a graduate student at UC Berkeley. Please don't blame her for the poor translation!

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