Guest poem submitted by Purnima Sreenivas:
Translated by Vikram Seth. I came across this poem years ago in Seth's volume "Three Chinese Poets" which I began reading more from a love of Seth than any great interest in Chinese poetry. What I love about this poem is its sparseness, something that Li Po shares with other Chinese poets, and which I think has to do with a culture where emotional restraint is encouraged. Yet this quatrain is an example of just how much loneliness can hide behind a facade of serenity. The poem resembles the Chinese script itself - a minutely detailed painting brought to life with a few deft strokes. Purnima. [Minstrels Links] Poems by Li Po: Poem #70, "The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter" Poem #504, "About Tu Fu" Poem #683, "To Tu Fu from Shantung" Poem #749, "Parting" (Note that the first of these is credited to Ezra Pound on the Minstrels website, since it's as much Pound's work as Po's). Poems by Vikram Seth: Poem #650, "All You Who Sleep Tonight" Poem #754, "Protocols" Poem #460, "Round and Round" Seth's "Three Chinese Poets" (which, sadly, I do not have the good fortune to possess) includes translations of Wang Wei, Tu Fu (whose name Seth transliterates as Du Fu) and Li Po (ditto, Li Bai).