River Snow

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River Snow
        Liu Zongyuan 773-819 

A thousand peaks: no more birds in flight.
Ten thousand paths: all trace of people gone.

In a lone boat, rain cloak and a hat of reeds,
an old man’s fishing the cold river snow.
Liǔ Zōngyuán 773-819

Qiān shān niǎo fēi jué,
Wàn jìng rén zōng miè.
Gū zhōu suō lì wēng,
Dú diào hán jiāng xuě.
Translator: David Hinton 譯者

"By the time you start reading, it’s already over, which only makes you ponder its meaning all the more." Eileen Chang in her essay 'On Carrots'.

Location unknown, perhaps XiaoXiang Rivers area in southern Hunan where Liu was exiled on the first of his two exiles. See other translations of this deceptively simple poem by Gary Snyder, Kenneth Rexroth, Dongbo, and others.

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