Stone Path (after Tu Mu)


Stone Path (after Tu Mu)

High up the cold mountain a stone path rises
to the village in the white clouds.
I stop the carriage and inhale the evening fragrance,
its red, frosted maple leaves richer than any spring flower.

I may have inserted a bit more of myself into this adaptation than is my usual custom. I hope it does not intrude.

The transliteration on reads:

Far on cold mountain stone path slant
White cloud live place be households
Stop carriage because love maple forest evening
Frost leaf red than second month flower


36 thoughts on “Stone Path (after Tu Mu)

  1. What do I know about the original? But your adaptation gets my vote of approval as incomparably beautiful poetry! “Red frosted maple leaves” does it for me!



  2. A neighbor explained to me yesterday that she doesn’t harvest her cabbage until after it’s been frosted. It tastes so much better and sweeter, she said. I asked why the frost did that. She, an extremely knowledgeable herbalist, said, “It just does,” or something to that effect. All of which is to say, I’m guessing that a similar process is at work to make those frosted maples actually smell richer than spring flowers, as you say.

    This poem to me combines eloquence and keen observation. Thank you!


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  4. Just echoing the folks above here–beautiful poem. To me, maybe because all around here the maple leaves are changing, this poem expressed the something about autumn that invigorates us, whether we want to complain about the cold or not.


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