Wang Wei is an eighth-century Chinese poet known for his tranquil, contemplative depiction of landscape scenes. The translation comes from David Hinton, a prominent translator of classical Chinese poetry.
To mark National Poetry Month, NPR.org is featuring a series of newly published works selected by the Academy of American Poets. Learn more about this and other titles at the academy's New Spring Books list.
Farewell to Yang, Who's Leaving for Kuo-chou
Those canyons are too narrow to travel.
How will you make your way there, when
it's a mere bird-path — a thousand miles
and gibbons howling all day and night?
We offer travel-spirits wine, then you're
gone: Nü-lang Shrine, mountain forests
and beyond. But we still share a radiant
moon. And do you hear a nightjar there?
"Farewell to Yang, Who's Leaving for Kuo-chou" by Wang Wei, from The Selected Poems of Wang Wei, translated by David Hinton. Copyright 2006 by David Hinton. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.