Document 998


Author(s): David Purves

Copyright holder(s): David Purves



1. Derk Dule: Ode of Confucius (ca.500 BC)
2. Sanctuary: Lu Chi (261-303)
3. Nichtfaw: Kennawha (ca.600)
4. The Waesum Fish: do,
5. Whit Ails Me: do.
6. Auld Brolach: Kao-Shih (ca. 700)
7. A Temple Veisit: Wang Wei (701-761)
8. Anaith the Muin: Li Po (701-762)
9. Drouthie Cronies: do
10. Lown Eild: Po Chü-I
11. Braw Burds frae the Bens: Chang Chi (8th century)
12. Nicht at Anchor: do.
13. The Caunil: Li Shang Yin (813-859)
14. Motion: Ssü-Kung T’u (834-908)
15. Quaeit Seil: do.
16. Set Free: do.
17. The Tao: do.
18. The Auld Battil Grund: Li Hua (ca.850)
19. A Sair Hert: Mei Yao Ch’en (1002-1060)
20. Ah Dreme Foraye: do.
21. Wrutten Whyle Fou: Su Tung P’o (1036-1101)
22. Epigram: do.
23. Daith: Fuyo-Dokai (1042-1107)
24. A Simmer’s Day: Li Ch’-ing-chao (1082-1144)
25. Lyfe: Daie-Soka (1089-1163)
26. The Clachan at Shansi: Lu Yu (1125-1209)
27. Ah Ryse at Dawin: Lu Yu (1125-1209)
28. Back at the Loch: Chang Hsiao-hsiang) (1134-1169)
29. Lest Lowp: Tendo-Nyojo (1163-1228)
30. Dule: Chu Shu Chen (ca. 1200) .



The sun foraye is ful an bricht,
the pale muin crynes doun ilka nicht
an whitfor soud this be?

Ma hert that aince wes fou o licht
is lyke the dwynin muin this nicht
an lyke ti die.

But whan Ah dream o ye apairt,
Ah howp the dawin wul heize ma hert,
the sun ti see.


From the Chinese
of Lu Chi (261-303)


Ah tak horse afore the cock craws
ti win til the monastery or the bell tolls at ein.
The whuff o incense parfumes the lown air.
The new muin gaes doun owre the forest edge
This hame o men o peace an saucht
is lent ti me, a siccar refuge or the dawin.
* * * *
Nae man wul follae me in days ti cum.
alang the road Ah tak amang the trees,
Anelie the blissit chantin o the monks
wul echo throu the derkenin firs.


From The Chinese
of Kennawha (ca. 600)


At nichtfaw he lowpit in owre the hedge.
At dawin, he opent the yett an gaed oot.
He haes taen his pleisir an nou
Ah dout, he thinks nae mair o me.


From the Chinese
of Kennawha (ca.600)


The fish greits in the dried river bed.
owre late he is waesum an vext
that he plowtert his wey
throu the shallaes, an nou
he greins ti gae back again
for ti wairn ither fishes.


From the Chinese
of Kennawha (ca. 600)


Ah wunner whit ails me whitever?
Wi aw the monie wycelyke men in the warld
whitfor can Ah think anelie o you?


From the Chinese
of Kao-Shih (ca. 700)


The war aince a Keing o Liang---a Keing o byuss
wha kept an open pailace, whaur muisic chairmed
the nicht---

Sen he wes laird o Liang, a thousan years
haes flaen,
o aw the touers he biggit yon rikkil stauns

Nou hings an awesum seilance; rank weeds
throu winnoks growe,
an doun the strachts o Liang, auld echoes dwyne
an dowe.


From the Chinese of
Wang Wei (701-761)


Myles aff the baeten trek
is the temple, Ah im eftir. Ah graip
amang the cloud-happit peaks
an auncient wuids, whaur
naebodie haes evir wun afore.
Frae sum heich steid abuin,
a tollin bell threips awa.
A hieland burn kelters doun
frae a touerin craig abuin.
Bricht sunlicht glimmers
throu the mukkil pines.
At gloamin, bi a lown puil,
Ah licht upon a hunkert monk
his lane, in meditation, quaetlie
slayin the puzzent draigon,
aw fylit thocht, wi Zen,


From the Chinese
of Li Po (701-762)


Unner the crescent muin’s cauld lowe
Ah hear the washerman’s bat
dirdin on claes even on frae ferr awa
an the Back End saur souchs cannilie.
But ma hert gaes aye til the Tertar war
cryin ma man back hame ti me


From the Chinese of
Li Po (701-762)


We baith hae drunk thair health,
aw thir braw Hieland flouers;
a toast, a toast, anither toast
an syne anither wi glesses heich.

Ah im fair fou an lang ti sleep.
Man, lat me be, for a wee---
Bring yeir lute an yeir lyre,
aerlie the morn’s mornin!


From the Chinese
of Po Chü-I (772-846)


Owre an again the gowden sun gaes doun,
the blue lift mirkils intil nicht,
an as a cloud Ah reinge afore the wund.
The warld’s speirit throu me dirls.
Inouth ma breist nae dule can byde,
tho ilk day daws on runkils an whyte hair:
the taikens o the rowthness o ma years,
an in the birkenshaw, ma lane, Ah dreme:
sen lyfe an daith in cycles cums an gangs,
gin Ah depairt, Ah’l kest nae gledge ahint,
afore ma saul skails til Eternitie.


From the Chinese of
Chang Chi (8th century)


Whyte fethers lyke the glisterin silk.
Thay roostit ilka nicht up in the tree
bi oor houss end. The-nicht a monkey
cam ti pick the chesnuts, an twa bi twa,
thay flew awa for guid, airtin for the muin.


From the Chinese of
Chang Chi (8th century)


The muin dounsets aince mair.
Freist plenishes the haill lift.
Maple leifs faw on the wattir.
The fishermen’s fyres haud me wauken.
Frae ayont Su Chou the midnicht bell
jowes awa on Cauld Ben an raxes
the lenth o ma wee bit boat.


From the Chinese
of Li Shang Yin (813-859)


The caunil thraws derk shaidaes
on the mither-o-paerl screen.
Slawlie, slawlie, the haill galaxie
faws doun the lift. The sterns gae oot.
Quyne in the muin, ir ye no vext
ye stale the herb o immortalitie,
an nicht eftir nicht be weirdit for
ti watch foraye the restless emerant sie,
an the outlin sterns in the bounless lift?


From the Chinese
of Ssü-K’ung T’u (834-908)


Frae the cawin wattir-wheel
til the yird’s gret axis birlin aye
anaith the ever-restless lift abuin
Ah mell wi awthing inti nocht
ayont the bounds o thocht an dreme
rinkin the universe wi outlin spheres
whas orbits lests a thousan years
ti win the kie that fits ma theme.


From the Chinese
of Ssü K’ung T’u (834-908)


It bydes in the deep seilence,
unkent on ben an plain
lippert bi tydeless harmonie,
it toves wi the lanesum crane.

As the springtyme saur whas flauchter
the silken skirts haes blawn,
as the wund-drawn note o the bamboo fluit
whas chairm we wad mak oor awn, ---

Chance-heard, it kyths ti yield;
socht, an it wyles us ben;
aye-showdin in maik an fantasie,
it jouks us, an is gaen.


From the Chinese
of Ssü K’ung T’u (834-908)


Ah im browdent in flouers athout end.
Ah’m an atom at random in space.
The warld is the steid whaur Ah dreme.
Ma saul’s in etherial naeplace.

The taps o the swaws Ah touer ower,
mang the wunds o the warld spreidin wyde.
Ah im aw ane wi leimitless pouer,
the haill universe reinged at ma syde.


From the Chinese
of Ssü K’ung T’u (834-908)


Ayont the rax o fashious thocht,
lat us win in til the hert o awthing
an thare haud fest foraye,
fed frae an endless rowth!


From the Chinese
of Li Hua (ca. 850)


This is the Border whaur the Han airmies
forgethert, whaur thay maircht forfochen
for thousans o wearie myles. Anaith the
bounless lift thay’l never ken the day
o thair return, but for aw, thay’r aye here,
thair breists aye bare ti the peitiless steel
an aw the unco gaws o war. Ah think
Ah see thaim yit, a host o stoursell Tertar
Warriors, waitin on us in the snell wund.
Oor chieftain scorns the fae an we haud forrit.
But Nature, hirsell, favors the Tertars
wi a deidlie blizzard on thair galluss chairge.
Oor men fecht til thair knees in snaw.
Nae claes can keep oot sic nitherin cauld.
Hands ir lyke deid an flesh freezes in the freist.
Ti yield is ti becum a slave, ti fecht
is but ti mell wi the desert sand foraye.
Faintlyke nou, an waucher aye, dirds
the drums, aw smeddum’s gaen,
arraes aw spent an bou strings sindert.
The dykes o the Auld Great Waw ir slaigert
wi the bluid o monie a mither’s son.
* * * * *
Nae soun o flichterin burd nou frae thir links.
Aw is still, binna the wund that yowls
an skirls throu the lang nicht o the deid.
The dwynin muin abuin aye skinkils
on the freist that haps the frozent grund.


From the Chinese of
Mei Yao Ch’en (1002-1060)


Heivin taen ma wyfe awa
nou it haes taen ma son anaw.
Ma een ir no alloued a
dry brek It is owre mukkil
for ma puir hert. Ah grein for daith.
Whan the rain skails doun an draks
intil the yird, whan a paerl
faws richt doun til the bed
o the sea, ye can aye dive
in the sea an finnd the paerl,
ye can howk in the yird an
finnd the wattir. But naebodie
haes ever cum back frae the
Yallae Springs. Aince gaen,
lyfe is owre for guid. Ma kist
tichtens agin me. Nou Ah hae
naebodie ti turn til, naething,
no even a shaidae in a gless.


From the Chinese of
Mei Yao Ch’en (1002-1060)


Aw throu the day Ah dreme
Ah im wi hir. At nicht anaw,
Ah dreme she’s bi ma syde.
Eydent she cairries aye hir kit
o culort threids. Ah see hir yit
bent ower hir poke o silks.
She redds an derns ma orra
claes an fashes whyles, gin Ah
micht kyth worn oot an duin.
Tho deid an gaen foraye
she watches ower the lave
o ma lyfe. Hir maimorie
even on, draws me til daith.


From the Chinese
of Su Tung P’o (1036-1101)


Blek clouds spreid ower the lift, ink-lyke.
Ah can nae langir richt see the bens.
Hailstanes stot frae the ruifs o the boats.
A whurlwund soups oot frae the foreland
but dwynes near doun til nocht bedein.
Frae the paveilion, luikin ower the loch,
the wattir is nou aw ane wi the lift.


From the Chinese
of Su Tung P’o (1036-1101)


Ah fish for littil menans in the loch.
Juist born, thay hae nae fear o man,
an thaim that haes lairnt thair lesson
never cum back ti wairn the lave.


From the Chinese of
Fuyo-Dokai (1042-1107)


Seiventie-sax: aw by
an duin nou, wi this lyfe---
Ah haena socht a heivin,
an fear nae hell ava.
Ah’l lay thir banes o mynes,
ayont the Thriepil Warld,
unthirlt, unfasht.


From the Chinese
of Li Ch’ing-chao (1082-1144)


A gey dreich day this, wi rouk an cloud
that claers awa wi wraiths o incense reik.
Ti think midsummer’s day is by again
an fowk suin say, ‘The nichts is drawin in!’
The rouk haed drak’t lest nicht throu drapes
til bousters drouk’t wi cauld dew draps.

The gloamin faws, beglaumert wi the scent,
Ah dauner til the gairden fuit wi gless in haund,
Seekin oot flouers whas parfume fills ma sleeves.

But aye wi a sair hert for aw---!
The wastlin wund micht kyth the muin
an shaw the color o ma peilie chowks,
faucher nor the yalla o chrysanthemums.


From the Chinese
of Daie-Soko (1089-1163)


Lyfe is aye as we
finnd it.---Daith anaw.
Mebbe a bit pairtin poem?
Ah winna threip on aboot it!


From the Chinese
of Lu Yu (1125-1210)


Dinna turn up yeir neb at the wersh wyne!
The fermers brew nae better lyke,
at the back end. At ither tymes, mynd,
thay bring oot pigs an poutrie for ee.

It’s no that easie for ti finnd the gait
mang heichs an howes an breingin burns,
But see, ayont yon flouers a clachan kyths!
Yonder sum fowk an Spring is shuirlie here!
In mainner, dress an couthie tung,
thir kintrie fowk haud til thair auld weys.
Frae nou on, gin Ah micht, Ah’l caw on thaim
bi muinlicht, chap on thair doors. Aiblins,
thay’l cry me ben for a cup an hae a crack.
Whit mair nor this is’t aw aboot?


From the Chinese
of Lu Yu (1125-1209)


Whan yeir teeth ir duin
ye canna growe new anes.
Whan yeir hair faws oot
ye canna plant it again.
Ah ryse at dawin an regaird
masell in the luikin gless.
Ma gizz is runkilt, ma heid is gray
an Ah im fou o peitie for masell.
Ah’im waesum for the years
that is gaen lyke skailt wattir.
We canna mak nae mair o’t.
Ah waucht a gless o the wyne
an turn til ma buiks aince mair.
* * * * *
Back throu the centuries Ah reinge,
athort thrie thousan year, ti veisit
Shun an Yu the Gret, an Kue Lung,
yon unco, namelie, randie skellum.
Thair corps is lang murlt inti stour,
but Ah can see thaim claerlie still.
Whit dis it maitter? Thay leeve
foraye in the mynd’s ee. Ma flesh,
lyke thairs, wul weir awa wi tyme.


From the Chinese
of Chang Hsiao-hsiang (1134-1169)


Thrie year awa, an Ah’m here aince mair
ti view the spring-tyme bewties o this loch!
Blawn bi the aest wund in ma sail, Ah feel
the whusper o the sauchs upon ma chowks.
The’r naething lyke makkin yeir merk in lyfe
ti gar ye feel at ease, whaure’er ye finnd yeirsell.
The wattir at the boathouss bi the shore
an aw the lift abuin, is nou yae blue.
A hantil maws tak flicht up frae the shallaes
an skraichin, flie awa ti whaur thay’d raither be.
Ah wush ye aw weill; an nou fareweill!


From the Chinese
of Tendo-Nyojo (1163-1228)


Eftir saxtie-sax year
getherin sins,
Ah lowp inti hell—
abuin Lyfe an Daith


From the Chinese of Chu Shu Chen (ca.1200)


The pale muin leims doun frae abuin
in the cauld lift o September.
Whyte freist wyes doun the fulyerie,
raxin ower the freezin wattir.
Ma lane, forenent ma winnok
the sair wecht o the passin days
never lichtens, even for a wee,
but Ah skreive awa at ma poems,
syne chynge an redd thaim up
an i the feinish, Ah thraw thaim awa.
Gowden chrisants wuther alang the plettie.
The skraichs o gangrel maws faws frae abuin
* * * *
Ah’m aw bi masell bi ma wundae.
Ah’m dernt in ma tuim chaumer.
Sae syne, Ah burn a pikkil incense,
an dwaum in the reik ma lane.

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Information about Document 998



Text audience

General public
Audience size 100+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2005
Title of original (if translation) Various
Author of original (if translation) Various - see text for details
Language of original (if translation) Chinese
Word count 2567
General description Poetry collection

Text medium

Other Some poems previously published in magazines

Text publication details

Publisher Various
Part of larger text
Contained in Some poems previously published in "Lallans", "Northwords", "Chapman" magazines

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 17
Forenames David
Surname Purves
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1920
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Retired Biochemist
Place of birth Selkirk
Region of birth Selkirk
Birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Midlothian
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Master Grocer
Father's place of birth Selkirk
Father's region of birth Selkirk
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Selkirk
Mother's region of birth Selkirk
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Slk
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All circumstances
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes