A Lute of Jade
Selections from the Chinese Classical Poetry

Based on L. Cranmer-Byng's translation








With Zhao at His Temple in the Early Morning

Liu Zongyuan


I clean my teeth in water drawn from a cold well;
and while I brush my clothes, I purify my mind.
Then, slowly turning pages in the Tree-Leaf Book,
I recite, along the path to the eastern shelter.
...The world has forgotten the true fountain of this teaching;
people enslave themselves to miracles and fables.

Within the written words I want the essential meaning;
I look for the simplest way to sow and reap my nature.

Here in the quiet of the priest's templecourtyard,
mosses add their climbing colour to the thick bamboo.
Now comes the sun, out of mist and fog,
and pines seemingly new-bathed.
Everything leaves me: speech goes, and reading,
leaving the singularity.