Night on the Great River [three translations]

(I)

Steering my little boat towards a misty islet,
I watch the sun descend while my sorrows grow:
In the vast night the sky hangs lower than the treetops,
But in the blue lake the moon is coming close.

[translated by William Carlos Williams]

(II)

Night on the Great River

We anchor the boat alongside a hazy island.
As the sun sets I am overwhelmed with nostalgia.
The plain stretches away without limit.
The sky is just above the tree tops.
The river flows quietly by.
The moon comes down amongst men.

[translated by Kenneth Rexroth]

(III)

Mooring on Chien-te River

The boat rocks at anchor by the misty island
Sunset, my loneliness comes again.
In these vast wilds the sky arches down to the trees.
In the clear river water, the moon draws near.

[translated by Gary Snyder]

More by Meng Hao-jan

At Lumen-Empty Monastery, Visiting the Hermitage of Master Jung, My Departed Friend

The blue-lotus roof standing beside a pond,
White-Horse Creek tumbling through forests,

and my old friend some strange thing now.
A lingering visitor, alone and grief-stricken

after graveside rites among pines, I return, 
Looking for your sitting-mat spread on rock.

Bamboo that seems always my own thoughts:
It keeps fluttering here at your thatch hut.