"Night at the Tower," "Moonlight Night," appear courtesy of Copper Canyon Press. Reprinted from Arthur Sze's The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese, translated and introduced by Arthur Sze. © 2001 Arthur Sze.


To read Arthur Sze's translations of

T'ao Ch'ien

Li Ch'ing-chao

Li Ho

Wen I-to

Li Po

Li Shang-yin

Wang Wei


Read our interview with Arthur Sze in this issue.


Read a selection of Sze's poetry in an earlier issue.


At bn.com, a complete list of titles by Arthur Sze _________

In an earlier issue, Sam Hamill's translations of Tu Fu

Tu Fu (701-762)

Translated by Arthur Sze

Night at the Tower

At year's end, yin and yang
******** hasten the shortening daylight.
Frost and snow at the sky's edge
******** clear into a crisp, cold night.
At fifth watch, drums and bugles
******** sound a piercing grief,
while over Three Gorges, shadows
******** of the Milky Way sway and rock.
In the countryside, wild sobs
******** resounded through homes after the destruction.
Here and there, tribal songs
******** of fishermen and woodcutters arise.
Lying-Dragon and Leaping-Horse
******** have disintegrated into yellow dust;
let the news of all our affairs
******** be still and hushed.

Moonlight Night

This evening in Fu-chou my wife
can only look out alone at the moon.
From Ch'ang-an I pity my children
who cannot yet remember or understand.

Her hair is damp in the fragrant mist.
Her arms are cold in the clear light.
When will we lean beside the window
and the moon shine on our dried tears?