“Spring Dawn”

Meng Hao-Jan
Translated by David Hinton
Selected by Elisabeth McAvoy

Classic Chinese Poetry

I chose it because in reading these lines, they become as much birds in song as birds in song are birds in song.

—Elisabeth McAvoy


Spring Dawn

In spring sleep, dawn arrives unnoticed.
Suddenly, all around, I hear birds in song.

A loud night. Wind and rain came, tearing
blossoms down. Who knows few or many?
 

 

Classic Chinese Poems

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Meng Hao-Jan (689/691–740) was a major Tang dynasty poet, and a contemporary of Wang Wei, Li Bai and Du Fu.

David Hinton’s translations of classical Chinese poetry have earned him a Guggenheim fellowship, numerous NEA and NEH fellowships, and both of the major awards given for poetry translation in the United States, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, from the Academy of American Poets, and the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, from the PEN American Center. He is also the first translator in over a century to translate the four seminal works of Chinese philosophy: the Tao Te Ching, Chuang Tzu, Analects, and Mencius. He lives in Vermont.

Elisabeth McAvoy is an associate publicist at FSG.

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