Synopses & Reviews
Lament for Yin Yao
How long can one man's lifetime last?
In the end we return to formlessness.
A thousand things cause me distress --
Your kind old mother's still alive.
Your only daughter's only ten.
In the vast chilly wilderness
Clouds float into a great expanse.
Birds fly but do not sing in flight.
How lonely are the travellers.
Even the sun shines cold and white.
Alas, when you still lived,
and asked To study non-rebirth with me,
My exhortations were delayed --
And so the end came, fruitlessly.
All your old friends have brought you gifts
But for your life these too are late.
I've failed you in more ways than one.
Weeping, I walk back to my gate.
-- Wang Wei
The three T'ang dynasty poets translated here are among the greatest literary figures of China, or indeed the world. Responding differently to their common times, Wang Wei, Li Bai, and Du Fu crystallize the immense variety of China and the Chinese poetic tradition and, across a distance of twelve hundred years, move the reader as it is rare for even poetry to do.
About the Author
Vikram Seth who has translated poets, is the author of two bestselling novels, A Suitable Boy--a veritable tour de force in fiction--and a novel in verse, The Golden Gate.He spent several years living in China and published a travel book, From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet.