Cold sky over Xihu, Hangzhou
During the Xining period . . .
Su Shi 1036-1101
New Year’s Eve, I should go home early,
But official duties keep me behind.
Holding my brush, I face them with tears,
Grieved for those prisoners in chains.
Lowly men, trying to get some food,
Fell into the law’s net, knowing no shame.
I myself cling to my meager salary,
Missing one chance after another to retire.
Don’t speak of wise man and fool,
Each of us only schemes for a meal.
Who could set them free for a time?
I am silent, humbled before the ancients.
Sū Shì 1036-1101
Chúrì dāngzǎo guī,
Guān shì nǎi jiàn liú.
Zhíbǐ duì zhī qì,
Āi cǐ xì zhōng qiú.
Xiǎorén yíng hóuliáng,
Duò wǎng bùzhī xiū.
Wǒ yì liàn báo lù,
Yīnxún shī guīxiū.
Bùxū lùn xián yú,
Jūn shì wéi shí móu.
Shuínéng zàn zòng qiǎn,
Mǐn mò kuì qiān xiū.
From Ron Egan's definitive book on Su Shi (Su Dongpo), Word Image and Deed In The Life Of Su Shi, Harvard University Press. Used with permission. Professor Egan teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara, California.