top of page

rains of ink


for piano
30 mins

Translations by composer

Don't you know?

         Last night, rain was light,
                yet wind was gusting.
Deep sleep could not dispel the lingering wine.
Tried asking the one rolling up the shades,
who said the crab-apple flowers were just as before.
               "Don't you know?
               Don't you know?

               Greens should be plump.

               Reds should be thin."

fades into a trail of smoke

Pleasant is spring, 

                Hanshi time.

From the jade burner, the incense

                fades into a trail of smoke. 

Dreaming of returning to the pillow,

                the ornate hairpin.


                …Sea swallows have yet to come, 

                                people wagering on grass.

                Southern plum has faded, 

                                willows shedding their fur.

                At dusk, a sprinkle 

                                moistens garden swing…


Amidst the grass, chirping crickets

                startle and make the parasol leaves fall,
just a time when there is among mortals
               and among heaven a deep sadness.
Stairs of clouds, earth of moon,
               gates locked by the thousands,

even if floating rafts
               come and go,
                               still do not unite.

By a bridge of stars formed by magpies,
               meeting only once a year,
a love made of never-ending 

                partings and regrets,
Cowherd and Weaving Girl—
               nothing they know but separation.
Such moments of sunlit sky,
               moments of rain,
                               moments of wind.


whistling rain, listening in a lonesome inn

Tears wet the silken clothes, full of rouge,

the four stanzas of Yangguan

sung to the thousandths time.

—They say mountains stretch far, 

                and rivers sever the way—

whistling rain, listening in a lonesome inn.


Cherishing the moments of parting, 

                broken by the distance, heart in disarray,

I can't seem to recall, whilst leaving,

how deep the wine cup was.

At least our words and letters 

                can be carried by the traveling geese,

Donglai is not as far, after all, 

                as the island of gods.

cold, clear, bleak, dismal, forlorn

Searching, searching,

                seeking, seeking,






Suddenly warm then chilly again—

                it’s that time of the year,

                                when it’s hardest to take care. 

Two or three cups of weak wine,

                how can they hold up against

                                night’s sharp wind?

Geese passing by

                —yes that’s what hurts most

                                that they are old friends.


Covering the earth, yellow petals in heaps,

frail, broken,

                who could pick them now?

Remaining by the window, 

                how can one wait alone
                               until darkness comes?

The parasol tree, the drizzling rain,

                until dusk,

                                drip, drip,

                                drop, drop.

This scene—

                how can the word “sorrow” suffice? 

—drip, drop…drip, drop—

Who planted a banana tree in front of the window?
               —its shade filling the courtyard—

                —its shade filling the courtyard—

Leaf after leaf, heart after heart,

                curling, unfolding, 

                                a lingering feeling.


A grieving heart on pillow, midnight rain,
               —drip, drop,

                                a steady drizzle—

                —drip, drop,

                                a steady drizzle—

What sadness overwhelms a northerner,

                who’s not used to, upon waking,

                                hearing this sound.

bottom of page