In Szechuan, Seeing off a Friend to Lu Mountain

by Yin-Luan, poet-monk (late T’ang)
translated by Mike O’Connor

You’re traveling
at the fragrant time of spring

on the Szechuan road
where all the hills are blooming.

Ten li of stream bank,
five li of flowers

and two or three peaks
snow-capped above clouds.

You’ll be on Lu Mountain,
at my old home

among pines and wisteria—
ten years abandoned.

At last when you
reach the mountain,

please ask the birds
if they remember me.


Mike O’Connor is a poet and translator of Chinese. His books include Immortality (poetry) and When I Find You Again, It Will Be in Mountains: Selected Poems of Chia Tao (translation). The source for the first two translations is Zhongguo Fo Dao Shige Zonghui (Chinese Buddhist-Taoist Poetry Collection), 290, 258; the source for the third is Zhongguo Lidai Seng Shi Quanji (Complete Poems of Chinese Buddhist Monks through the Ages), 1012. This poem originally appeared int the Winter/Spring 2016 issue of the Bulletin.

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