Silvrback blog imageDeer Park

Empty hills, no one in sight,
only the sound of someone talking;
late sunlight enters the deep wood,...
shining over the green moss again.

Wang Wei (700-761 AD). Translated Burton Watson, 1971.


"...this four line poem, 1200 years old: a mountain, a forest, the setting sun illuminating a patch of moss ... And yet something about it has caused it to lead a nomadic life: insinuating itself in the minds of Silvrback blog imagereaders, demanding understanding ... provoking thought, sometimes compelling writing in other languages. ...

The poem is by Wang Wei (700-761), known in his lifetime as a wealthy Buddhist painter and calligrapher, and to later generations as a master poet in an age of masters, the Tang Dynasty. ...

The title of the poem, 'Lu zhai', is a place name, something like 'Deer Grove' ... It probably alludes to the Deer Park at Sarnath, where the Gautama Buddha preached his first sermon."


Eliot Weinberger: 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei - How a Chinese Poem is Translated. Asphodel Press, 1987.