Laolao Ting Pavilion (after Li Po)


Another attempt at adapting Li Po. A note on stated “at this time, the breaking of a willow twig was part of formal leave-taking.”

Laolao Ting Pavilion (after Li Po)

Where do more hearts break under heaven?
This sad pavilion, where visitors part,
the spring wind whispers bitter goodbyes
and willow twigs never mend.

Transliteration from

Heaven below damage heart place
Laolao see off visitor pavilion
Spring wind know parting sorrow
Not send willow twig green.


35 thoughts on “Laolao Ting Pavilion (after Li Po)

  1. Elegant, Robert! I feel like a child asking the magician at a birthday party to “do it again”! Do it again, Robert…maybe this time I’ll see the secret of the trick. *g* –Ron–


      • That’s good–I think there’s value in not worrying a poem into its final stage. By the time I get to collecting work into a book form, usually every poem gets a seventeen-part-inspection style look-over. How does it fit into the collection? What parts of it have worn in this short time, what parts are still strong? The changes come more easily then.


  2. Very very interesting, this piece, the Camille Dungy article and the whole blog. I’ll be back.
    I have lately been dong someting a bit similar trying to adapt some ghazals by Ghalib for which I have a literal prose translation and some explanatory notes. A great exercise for a poet. Your results are a lot more impressive than mine!
    And thanks for liking our Terry Castle post.


  3. I love this, there is a captivating quality to it as I have read it several times in succession now and I don’t think I will tire of it soon 🙂


  4. Cool at dawn and cool at dusk
    Trees like a canopy.
    A thousand hills of darkest emerald
    Beyond the clouds.
    Vaguely a scented rain is falling
    Through a haze of green
    Glossy leaves and curls of blossom
    Shining through the side-gates
    Water in its golden pools,
    Jade-green ripple trembling.
    Vistas heavy with aging spring,
    No startled petals fly.
    Faded pink and fallen calyx
    Dappled in the shade.
    -Li Ho

    Love Chinese poetry and the simple elegant ways it captures moments. Dig this poem man


  5. That’s gorgeous, Robert. Your reconstructions are beautifully brilliant. I hope you’ll continue in this. It deserves editorial recognition, compilation, and redistribution in a book of adapted Chinese works. Spectacular!


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