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Ian Heffernan: three Tang poems

I. Li Bai – Quiet Night Thoughts In front of my bed, a patch of moonlight, Which calls to mind an early autumn frost. I raise my head and look at the bright moon. I lower it and think of my hometown. *****

II. Du Fu – Quatrain Two orioles sing in a willow, then take flight. A line of little egrets climb in the blue sky. My window shows the mountains' thousand-autumn snow. Beside my door a boat from distant Wu is moored.


III. Du Fu – Stars and Moon on the Yangtze First sudden rain, then a clear autumn night, The golden waves, the Jade Rope glistening. The Milky Way, white from prehistory, Along the riverbank the water's calm. Reflected things, pearls from a broken string. A single mirror rises in the sky. In semi-dark the water clock counts time. A bright-edged dew is settling on the ground.

Ian Heffernan was born just outside London, where he still lives. He studied at UCL and SOAS and works with the homeless. His poetry has been published recently in the High Window, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Cha, Antiphon, South Bank Poetry, London Grip, Under the Radar, FourXFour, the Moth, Acumen and elsewhere.


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