Wang Wei: Suffering Heat (From Chinese)

Suffering Heat
By Wang Wei
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

Sky and earth are filled with sun 
 Clouds of fire pack hill and vale 
Grass and leaves are burnt out and shriveled  
 Stream and swamp dried up and drained 
In light white silk my clothes feel heavy 
 Beneath thick leaves I bemoan thin shade 
I cannot get to my bamboo mat  
 Best wash my linen again today 

Could I but escape beyond space and time 
 Into empty reaches alone and away 
Where long winds wend from a million miles  
 And great waters wash off my filth and fray 
Then see the body's way is suffering 
 And know the mind not yet awake 
Then enter the Quenching* Gate of a sudden 
 Let clear cool joy wind any way 

*i.e. Nirvana, the extinguishing of the "fires" (or poisons) fueled by temporal obsession.


The Original:

王维
苦熱
 
赤日滿天地,
火雲成山嶽。
草木盡焦卷,
川澤皆竭涸。
輕紈覺衣重,
密樹苦陰薄。
莞簟不可近,
絺绤再三濯。
思出宇宙外,
曠然在寥廓。
長風萬裏來,
江海蕩煩濁。
卻顧身為患,
始知心未覺。
忽入甘露門,
宛然清涼樂。

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