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 Guan Xiu                           (Wade-Giles name: Kuan Hsiu)

GUAN XIU (832-912)

Guan Xiu was born in Lanxi, Zhejiang, and after he was orphaned became a monk at the age of seven at his local Buddhist monastery. He was a court poet, but found himself moving from court to court before finally settling in the court of the kingdom of Xu. He was known for his skill at painting (the painter of a celebrated series of pictures of sixteen arhats) and calligraphy, as well as for his poetry (he was considered a major poet by Song Dynasty critics)

Two Poems Written on the Wall of a Villager's Cottage in Late Spring


Quiet by the brushwood gate. A fragrance of cooked rice.
Spring rain turns to sun. Smoke rises from the mountain village.
Misty flowers in the courtyard. Crystal water flows and sings.
A young boy weeps. He wants the skylark in the trees.


Fragrant water and bushy cattail in a dark pond
where even wild mandarin ducks act tame.
Deep groves of mulberry by the village and fields
where neighbors east or west live together in peace.
Silk-making girls wash cocoons in the lucid brook.
A herd boy plays his flute and bathes in his clothes.
The old mountain villager asks me to stay night after night,
He laughs, pointing to the west hill, where gourds and beans are ripe.

        ---Translated by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping


Staying Overnight in a Mountain Village

After hiking and hiking, I stay overnight in a deep village
with dogs and chickens noisy like a market in a good year.
The whole family is delighted to have me visit.
They scoop a pond dry with buckets to gather me fish.

        ---Translated by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping


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