Author's Note: The lovely thing about trying to "translate" a Han-Shan poem after reading all of the available translations is that one begins to see truly the poem that the old master was offering and, further, begins to understand what makes the poem what it is. I would recommend to all poets this practice of transporting a poem from another language into English for what it teaches us about poetry's heart.
After Han-Shan's Poem #51
My mind is like an autumn moon shining clear and bright on green water. What else could I compare it to when there's no other way to say it.
After Han-Shan's Poem #55
Peach blossoms want to last the summer yet the wind and the moon don't linger. All the men of history are dead now. Blossoms fall and they keep falling. Year after year, people keep changing. Kick this dust: it once was ocean.
After Han-Shan's Poem #66
If you say nothing your descendants will know nothing. If you live like a hermit, how will your wisdom appear? If you don't care for your health, wind and cold will break you. An ox plowing a field of rocks brings no harvest.
©2021 Tom Montag
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