Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

His Dream Of Skyland, A poem by : Li Po

The sound of the sea Nigel Borrington

His Dream Of Skyland
Nigel Borrington

His Dream Of Skyland

The seafarers tell of the Eastern Isle of Bliss,
It is lost in a wilderness of misty sea waves.
But the Sky-land of the south, the Yueh-landers say,
May be seen through cracks of the glimmering cloud.
This land of the sky stretches across the leagues of heaven;
It rises above the Five Mountains and towers over the Scarlet Castle,

While, as if staggering before it, the Tien-tai Peak
Of forty-eight thousand feet leans toward the southeast.

So, longing to dream of the southlands of Wu and Yueh,
I flew across the Mirror Lake one night under the moon.
ode-to-the-coast-034

The moon in the lake followed my flight,
Followed me to the town of Yen-chi.
Here still stands the mansion of Prince Hsieh.
I saw the green waters curl and heard the monkeys’ shrill cries.
I climbed, putting on the clogs of the prince,
Skyward on a ladder of clouds,
And half-way up from the sky-wall I saw the morning sun,
And heard the heaven’s cock crowing in the mid-air.
Now among a thousand precipices my way wound round and round;
Flowers choked the path; I leaned against a rock; I swooned.

Roaring bears and howling dragons roused me –
Oh, the clamorous waters of the rapids!
I trembled in the deep forest, and shuddered at the overhanging crags,
one heaped upon another.
Clouds on clouds gathered above, threatening rain;
The waters gushed below, breaking into mist.

A peal of blasting thunder!
The mountains crumbled.
The stone gate of the hollow heaven
Opened wide, revealing
A vasty realm of azure without bottom,
Sun and moon shining together on gold and silver palaces.

Rainbow over the river suir 1

Clad in rainbow and riding on the wind,
The ladies of the air descended like flower, flakes;
The faery lords trooping in, they were thick as hemp-stalks in the fields.
Phoenix birds circled their cars, and panthers played upon harps.
Bewilderment filled me, and terror seized on my heart.
I lifted myself in amazement, and alas!
I woke and found my bed and pillow –
Gone was the radiant world of gossamer.

So with all pleasures of life.
All things pass with the east-flowing water.
I leave you and go – when shall I return?
Let the white roe feed at will among the green crags,
Let me ride and visit the lovely mountains!
How can I stoop obsequiously and serve the mighty ones!
It stifles my soul.

– Li Po. Translated by: Shigeyoshi Obata

2 responses

  1. I could almost hear the crashing waves when I clicked on that image.

    February 14, 2017 at 2:29 pm

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