Aboard A Boat, Reading Yuan Chen's Poems
I pick up your scroll of poems, read in front of the lamp;
the poems are ended, the lamp gutters, the sky not yet light.
My eyes hurt, I put out the lamp, go on sitting in the dark;
a sound of waves blown up by head winds, sloshing against the boat.
Po Chu-i (translated by Burton Watson), Burton Watson (editor), The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry: From Early Times to the Thirteenth Century (1984).
On Board Ship: Reading Yuan Chen's Poems
I take your poems in my hand and read them beside the candle;
The poems are finished, the candle is low, dawn not yet come.
My eyes smart; I put out the lamp and go on sitting in the dark,
Listening to waves that, driven by the wind, strike the prow of the ship.
Arthur Waley (translator), Chinese Poems (1946).
Nearly ten years after Yuan Chen's death, Po Chu-i wrote the following poem.
On Hearing Someone Sing A Poem By Yuan Chen
No new poems his brush will trace;
Even his fame is dead.
His old poems are deep in dust
At the bottom of boxes and cupboards.
Once lately, when someone was singing,
Suddenly I heard a verse --
Before I had time to catch the words
A pain had stabbed my heart.
Arthur Waley (translator), Ibid.