Menu Close

compositions

Streaming audio and pdf perusal scores are available here. To order performance parts and bound scores, please email me.

solo

Another Sun — solo piano — 2018 — 9 minutes
For a pianist friend who knows everything about new music, loves Neapolitan songs and the Beatles, and can barely move his fingers now.

— view score —

Another Sun is dedicated to Dr. Ferdinando Buonanno, a great friend and mentor who has long been an inspiration to me and my family. Loving music with a deep intellectual and spiritual commitment and fascination, he is an accomplished pianist. (But a shy one—I’ve never heard him play.) Recently, however, a gradual loss of flexibility in his hands has kept him away from the piano. This composition is intended to be one he can play, that will still fit under his fingers. It is dedicated to Dr. Buonanno in memory of his beloved wife, Vally Buonanno, whom we miss every day.

The recording above is Jon Sakata’s premiere performance on October 16, 2018 at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall. I am sincerely grateful to Professors Robert Cogan and Pozzi Escot for presenting the premiere, and to Jon for his artistry and intuitive understanding in bringing this music to life.

Sleeping Light, Spinning World — solo guitar — 2016 — 5 minutes
“Write something pretty,” she said. A lullaby for my muse.

— view score —

Dedicated to my wife, MingMing, who is my guiding light and inspiration, Sleeping Light, Spinning World was composed for guitarist Aaron Larget-Caplan as part of the New Lullaby Project. Aaron premiered it November 1, 2016 at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, and recorded it on Nights Transfigured, released in 2020.

Radiance — solo guitar — 2007 — 4 minutes
For MingMing, my love, inspiration, and light.

— view score —

Radiance is dedicated to my wife, MingMing, on the occasion of our fifth wedding anniversary. Her name in Chinese means “light” or “brightness,” and she is indeed my inspiration and guiding light. The piece was written for guitarist Steven Lin, who premiered it at New England Conservatory in Boston on November 8, 2007, in a concert organized by Professor Pozzi Escot.

(Recorded by Steven Lin, May 4, 2008 at New England Conservatory.)


Prayer for MingMing — solo piano — 1993 — 7 minutes
My first real composition, for the love of my life.

— view score —

Prayer for MingMing, for solo piano, is a lyrical, romantic piece dedicated to my wife (who was not yet my wife at the time). I consider this my first real composition. We’ve come a long way since I wrote this, and my compositional techniques have changed and developed considerably, but my love for MingMing is stronger than ever, and in some essential way the piece still rings true. Premiered by Raja Rahman December 5, 1995 in New York.
(Recorded in live performance by Hanuš Barton, December 3, 2004 in Prague.)


duos, trios & quartets

Alleluia — mezzo-soprano, flute & cello — 2009 — 6 minutes
Sometimes words are just distracting.

— view score —

Alleluia was composed for the LacrossE trio (Jennifer Ashe, soprano; Jessi Rosinski, flute; & Benjamin Schwartz, cello) for Sarah Bob’s New Gallery Concert Series in Boston.

I once heard somewhere that the word “hallelujah” was originally an onomatopoetic invention imitating the sound of an exclamation made by a person overcome with joy. Irrepressible and perhaps even a little ridiculous, it expresses what cannot be contained in mere language. Unfortunately, as much as this story appeals to me, it turns out not to be true — “hallelujah” is a perfectly legitimate Hebrew word with a sensible etymology, meaning simply “praise God.” In any case, the single word “alleluia” has served for centuries as a text for songs of praise, often using only the vowels of the word, or drawing out the final syllable in an extended and essentially wordless “jubilus.” It therefore seemed an appropriate title for this wordless piece for voice, flute and cello.

This composition has not yet been premiered.


Crossings — percussion quartet (unpitched percussion) — 2001/2010 — 8 minutes, or open with improvisation
Mystical grooves for unknown saints. And an obsession with √2.

— view score —

Crossings, for percussion quartet, attempts to balance the freedom of collective improvisation within a strictly controlled compositional structure. It consists of three groove sections and a series of transitional episodes, in which the tempo increases incrementally by various metric modulations. There are two ways to play the piece. In the “tight” version, the durations of each section are specified, to take advantage of various proportional structures and symmetries. In the “open” version, the players improvise in each groove until they decide to move on.

The title, “Crossings,” has several connotations. At a technical level, it suggests cross-rhythms and the tempo modulations where the music crosses from one tempo-stream to another. It also implies a journey, such as an ocean crossing, or an encounter, as in “crossing paths.” In the sacred music of the Regla de Ocha (“Santería”) religion of Cuba, which inspired my original conception of the piece, an ensemble of drummers opens each ceremony by playing “the paths” of the spirits. Each deity is addressed in succession, invited with his or her individual “path” or groove. The first invoked is always Eleguá, the spirit of the crossroads–the intersection of the divine and the physical, which is mediated by music. I am not a Regla de Ocha practitioner, however, but a Christian, and the sign of Christ is of course the cross.

This work was composed while in residence at Copland House in Cortlandt Manor, NY, as a recipient of the 2000 Aaron Copland Award, and was substantially revised in 2010. It is dedicated to the Talujon percussion quartet, who gave the premiere performance at New York University on April 18, 2001.

(Recorded live by Talujon: David Cossin, Michael Lipsey, Tom Kolor and Dominic Donato.)

Li Bai Songs — baritone voice, violin & guitar — 1999 — 12 minutes
Mandarin settings of six poems by Li Bai (701-762), a legendary genius and notorious drunk.

— view score —

Li Bai Songs, for baritone voice, violin, & guitar, are settings, in Mandarin Chinese, of Tang Dynasty poetry by Li Bai (701-762). They are dedicated to Dr. Su Yu Xu and Dr. Pei Chen Ning, who introduced me to the poetry and revealed for me its sound and meaning. The songs were premiered November 9, 1999 by Patrick Mason, Curtis Macomber, and William Anderson, on the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society concert series in New York.

Li Bai, also known as Li Po, is one of the most renowned poets of the Tang dynasty, which is widely considered the golden age Chinese poetry. He briefly managed to hold a position in the imperial academy, but because of his rebellious temperament and his notorious drinking habits, he was not well suited to life at court. He was twice forced into exile, and spent most of his adult life wandering the country, writing poetry, and drinking. Chinese musicians have sung Li Bai’s poems for twelve centuries; Western composers who have worked with translations of them include Harry Partch, Charles Wuorinen, Anton Webern, and Gustav Mahler, among others.

Patrick Mason, baritone; Curtis Macomber, violin; William Anderson, guitar
Live recording of premiere performance, November 9, 1999
Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, Merkin Hall, NYC

I.

Have you not seen how the Yellow River, which flows from heaven
And hurries toward the sea, never turns back?
Have you not seen how at the bright mirrors of high halls,
men mourn their white hairs,
At dawn black silk, by evening changed to snow?
While there is pleasure in life, enjoy it,
And never let your gold cup face the moon empty!
Heaven gave me my talents, they shall be used;
A thousand in gold scattered and gone will all come back again.

II.

Moonlight in front of the bed,
Or is it frost on the ground?
I raise my head and look at the bright moon,
Lower my head and think of my homeland.

III.

Where Heaven’s Gate Mountain ends, the Chu River begins,
Emerald water flows east and returns north.
The two banks’ blue-green peaks face each other,
A single sail comes, in sunlight.

IV.

Among the flowers, a bottle of wine,
I drink alone, without loved ones.
Lifting my cup, I toast the bright moon.
Facing my shadow, we are three.
But the moon does not drink,
And the shadow just follows my body.
For now, with the moon and shadow I keep company;
We should make merry while it is spring.
I sing, and the moon paces back and forth.
I dance, and the shadow jumbles in disarray.
While sober we share happiness,
Once drunk, we go our separate ways.
In a bond eternal but passionless, we travel.
We will meet far beyond the cosmos.

V.

The sun shining on Incense-Urn waterfall makes purple smoke.
From the distance I see the pouring cloth hanging in front of the mountain.
It flies, flowing straight down three thousand feet.
It could be the Silver River [Milky Way] falling through nine heavens.

VI.

From the boat going to Guangling,
The moon shines brightly over Zhengluo pavillion.
The mountains blush with floral embroidery.
The lanterns on the river flow like fireflies.

(Poem I translated by A.C. Graham, poems II-VI translated by P.C. Ning.)


Ordinary Time — string quartet — 1998 — 11 minutes
No one really understands time; how could it ever be ordinary?

— view score —

Ordinary Time, for string quartet, was written without any specific image or non-musical association in mind. In retrospect, it seemed to me that the piece wrestles with some of the paradoxical aspects of our experience of time, such as the way time can at once seem to pass quickly and slowly, to press forward and to stand still. I therefore chose the title “Ordinary Time,” borrowing from the church calendar a phrase that has always struck me as ironic in its understatement. The piece is in two movements; the first is in a clearly defined fast-slow-fast form, but the second movement is unstable, constantly digressing, changing moods, and generally resisting formal control. By chance, most of the time I spent working on this piece was during the Lent, Easter, Advent, and Christmas seasons, and hardly any of it in “Ordinary Time.” This composition was premiered April 19, 2002, by the Harmonies of the World at the festival Two Days and Two Nights of New Music in Odessa, Ukraine; and at the 2002 Kazan Festival of New Music in Kazan, Tatarstan.

(Recorded live by the ABAOA Quartet Dec. 3, 2004 in Prague: David Danel & Midon Hayashi, violins; Julian Veverica, viola; Balász Adorjan, cello.)


Southwesterly — flute/alto flute & clarinet/bass clarinet — 1997/2014 — 11 minutes
Light and shifty, but warm.

— view score —

Southwesterly: the title refers to the prevailing wind on Long Island Sound during the summer — warm and gentle, but also shifty and elusive.

Premiered May 6, 1997 in New York, by Jayn Rosenfeld and Jean Kopperud. The recording above, of a revised version of the piece, is by Michael Avitabile and Hunter Bennett in live performance October 30, 2014, Jordan Hall, Boston.


Laughter & Forgetting — clarinet, viola & vibraphone — 1997/2004 — 7-10 minutes
A playground for structured improvisation.

— view score —

Laughter and Forgetting, for clarinet, viola and vibraphone, is a composed structure for improvisation; the score is a single large page which provides melodic ideas, harmonic indications, verbal instructions, and conventionally notated passages through and around which the players improvise. In his novel of the same name, Milan Kundera explores the theme of memory, showing how different characters can experience and remember the same events quite differently; how memories can be consciously or unconsciously altered or manipulated; how new memories reinterpret, distort, mix with or replace old ones; and how the passage of time calls all memory into doubt. The piece enacts these ideas in real time, as a shared set of musical elements is subjected to the interaction of different personalities and the cumulative effects of changing contexts, ending in a kind of “forgetting.” The resulting musical form, like any other, is a direct experience shared between performers and listeners, but it is also an intangible conception of that experience, existing only in our minds, like a memory. Kundera describes laughter as a nonsensical sound that somehow carries the liberating ability to express human joy, but also ridicule and scorn. It can both reinforce social bonds or subvert them, or do both at the same time. Two people laughing, he says, may make the exact same sound but with quite opposite meanings. It occurred to me while reading this that his description of laughter also applies rather well to music.

Speaking of multiple meanings, this composition is a re-working (for a concert in Prague in 2004) of an earlier piece entitled Point No Point, Flood Plus 3. I spent a lot of time sailing when I was growing up, and something about this music made me think of tidal motion and the way conflicting currents affect one another. “Point No Point, Flood Plus 3” is a place and a time as you might look it up in a chart of tides and currents: a point of land on the Connecticut shore (whose name I happen to like), three hours after the tide begins rising. So here I’ve exposed the arbitrary nature of my program notes with two completely unrelated accounts of the same music — but they both fit, so take your pick. Or feel free to ignore them and let your own reaction be your guide, accepting whatever associations may occur to you as a listener.

(Recorded live at the premiere performance, December 3, 2004 by Moens in Prague: Kamil Doležal, clarinet; Ludmila Sovadinová, viola; Martin Hybler, vibraphone.)


Rhythms for Marimba & Piano — marimba & piano — 1996 — 7 minutes
Rumba rhythms, out of context.

— view score —

Rhythms for Marimba & Piano is loosely based on rhythms and formal structures from Afro-Cuban rumba. I wanted to see if I could write a piece held together more by groove than by harmonic and melodic development.

Premiered December 8, 1996 in New York by Chris Nappi, marimba & Lisa Crowder, piano.
(Recorded by the same performers October 10, 1997.)


Queen Slipper Serenade — flute, horn, cello & piano — 2003 — 4 minutes

— view score —

soundcloud

info


larger ensembles

Ricochet — flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin & cello — 2010 — 6 minutes
I set out to compose fast, propulsive music, but the piece resisted, and I relented. It’s best not to push them around.

— view score —

Ricochet is dedicated to Dr. Ferdinando Buonanno, and Professors Pozzi Escot and Robert Cogan, a circle of friends and mentors whose encouragement and support have been invaluable to me, and whose enthusiasm and love of life and music have been inspiring in every way. It was written for Collage New Music, directed by David Hoose, and premiered March 22, 2010 at Pickman Hall of the Longy School in Cambridge, MA.

This performance is by the Washington Square Contemporary Chamber Music Society: Patricia Spencer, flute; Benjamin Fingland, clarinet; Matthew Gold, percussion; Steven Beck, piano; Miranda Cuckson, violin; Christopher Finckel, cello; Louis Karchin, conductor. Recorded live, 12/16/2011 at Tenri Cultural Institute, NYC.

A still small voice — flute, clarinet, trombone, percussion, piano, viola (or violin) & cello — 2008/2009 — 8-10 minutes
“…but the Lord was not in the wind: and…the Lord was not in the earthquake: and…the Lord was not in the fire…”

— view score —

A Still Small Voice is dedicated to my mother, Ruth McMullin, and was composed for Ensemble MD7 of Slovenia, who premiered it on July 9, 2008 at the festival Ljubljana. I conducted a revised version in the US premiere on March 7, 2009 in New York with the Mimesis ensemble.

I have always liked the softer side of the trombone, which is not the aspect of it that most people think of first. When Pavel Mihelčič invited me to write a piece for Ensemble MD7, I had the idea for a short work with a prominent role for the trombone, in which the dynamic level remains quiet throughout. The title refers to the following biblical passage, which, among many other things, says something to me about the nature of inspiration, and seemed to fit well with the particular inspiration of this piece:

And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

(1 Kings 19:11-12)

(Recorded live by Mimesis: Jonathan Engle, flute; Mara Plotkin, clarinet; Scott Elliott, trombone; Sean Kleve, percussion; Nicholas Ong, piano; Sarah Lemons, viola; Erich Schoen-Rene, cello; David McMullin, conductor.)

Láska a smetí — flute, bass clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, cello & contrabass — 2004 — 7 minutes
After Ivan Klima’s novel, which jumps around in time so frequently and seamlessly that it seems to exist outside of time entirely.

— view score —

Láska a smetí (Love & Garbage) was commissioned by Atelier 90 of Prague, who presented its premiere performance by the Mondschein Ensemble (Moens) on December 3, 2004, at the Martinů Hall of the Lichtenstein Palace, Prague, Czech Republic, as part of a full concert of my works. Max Lifchitz conducted the US premiere June 13, 2006 in New York, with North/South Consonance.

The title comes from a novel by Czech author Ivan Klima, about a writer who works temporarily, as Klima himself did, as a street sweeper in Prague. The narrator feels a kind of detachment from everything around him – he is in a way only pretending to be a street sweeper, but while he is not writing he cannot be sure he is really a writer either, and he is at the same time paralyzed by indecision in his personal life. His detachment makes him a rather hesitant participant in life, but an acutely insightful observer.

As he wanders through the streets of Prague with his cleaning crew, he relates their stories and his own, as well as his immediate impressions and reminiscences of other times and places. Klima’s treatment of time was particularly interesting to me. The narrative does not proceed chronologically, but freely covers a span of many years, moving backward and forward fluidly and staying in one time-line for only a few paragraphs or pages at once. These frequent shifts of temporal perspective come without warning or demarcation, but the transitions and juxtapositions are seamless rather than abrupt. The result is not a series of discrete scenes or vignettes, but a masterful overarching meditation that seems to be outside of time.

I have attempted in this piece to reflect both the introspective atmosphere of the novel and its feeling of suspended tension, of being always in-between. As the novel jumps around in time, the piece changes texture often, without, I hope, losing its formal cohesion or sense of direction. Intrigued by the idea of a beautiful book about picking up garbage, I tried to write beautiful music using some sounds made from garbage-type materials, such as aluminum foil, paper and cardboard. My treatment of harmony is also influenced by Klima’s comment in the novel that garbage, like everything else, can never really be destroyed, only moved around and transformed. Similarly, the dissonant intervals of the first chord continue to pervade the entire piece, but they are presented in ways that become less harsh as the piece progresses.

(Recorded live by MoEns: (?), flute; Kamil Doležal, bass clarinet; Martin Hybler, percussion; Hanuš Barton, piano; David Danel, violin; Ludmila Sovadinová, viola; Milada Gajdová, cello; David Pavelka, contrabass; Miroslav Pudlak, conductor.)


Magnificat — unaccompanied choir — 2000 — 7 minutes
“My soul magnifies the Lord...”

— view score —

Magnificat, for unaccompanied choir, was written for the New York Virtuoso Singers in 2000. It is dedicated to the loving memory of my great-aunt Dorothy McMullin, Sister of Mercy (1904-1999), whose love of God, joy in life, kindness and good humor inspired all who knew her.

Magnificat anima mea Dominum.
Et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est: et sanctum nomen ejus.
Et misericordia ejus a progenie in progenies timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo: dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede, et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis: et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum, recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, Abraham et semini ejus in saecula.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.
Amen.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.
Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen.

Premiered by the New York Virtuoso Singers (Harold Rosenbaum, director) May 5, 2000 in New York.
Performed by the Taipei Chamber Singers (Yun-Hung Chen, director) at ISCM-ACL World Music Days festival in Hong Kong, November 24, 2007.(Recorded live at the premiere performance by the New York Virtuoso Singers.)


Adiabatic Sextet — clarinet, tenor sax, trombone, 2 percussion & piano — 1998 — 10 minutes
Strong wind with dense fog.

— view score —

Adiabatic Sextet borrows its title from a meteorological term that has something to do with the interaction of hot and cold air masses on a grand scale. Associated with strong wind and dense fog, “adiabatic” also sounds rather appropriately like scat syllables.


vocal & choral

Magnificat — unaccompanied choir — 2000 — 7 minutes
“My soul magnifies the Lord...”

— view score —

Magnificat, for unaccompanied choir, was written for the New York Virtuoso Singers in 2000. It is dedicated to the loving memory of my great-aunt Dorothy McMullin, Sister of Mercy (1904-1999), whose love of God, joy in life, kindness and good humor inspired all who knew her.

Magnificat anima mea Dominum.
Et exsultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo.
Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae:
ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est: et sanctum nomen ejus.
Et misericordia ejus a progenie in progenies timentibus eum.
Fecit potentiam in brachio suo: dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
Deposuit potentes de sede, et exaltavit humiles.
Esurientes implevit bonis: et divites dimisit inanes.
Suscepit Israel puerum suum, recordatus misericordiae suae.
Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, Abraham et semini ejus in saecula.
Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.
Amen.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.
Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen.

Premiered by the New York Virtuoso Singers (Harold Rosenbaum, director) May 5, 2000 in New York.
Performed by the Taipei Chamber Singers (Yun-Hung Chen, director) at ISCM-ACL World Music Days festival in Hong Kong, November 24, 2007.(Recorded live at the premiere performance by the New York Virtuoso Singers.)


Alleluia — mezzo-soprano, flute & cello — 2009 — 6 minutes
Sometimes words are just distracting.

— view score —

Alleluia was composed for the LacrossE trio (Jennifer Ashe, soprano; Jessi Rosinski, flute; & Benjamin Schwartz, cello) for Sarah Bob’s New Gallery Concert Series in Boston.

I once heard somewhere that the word “hallelujah” was originally an onomatopoetic invention imitating the sound of an exclamation made by a person overcome with joy. Irrepressible and perhaps even a little ridiculous, it expresses what cannot be contained in mere language. Unfortunately, as much as this story appeals to me, it turns out not to be true — “hallelujah” is a perfectly legitimate Hebrew word with a sensible etymology, meaning simply “praise God.” In any case, the single word “alleluia” has served for centuries as a text for songs of praise, often using only the vowels of the word, or drawing out the final syllable in an extended and essentially wordless “jubilus.” It therefore seemed an appropriate title for this wordless piece for voice, flute and cello.

This composition has not yet been premiered.


Li Bai Songs — baritone voice, violin & guitar — 1999 — 12 minutes
Mandarin settings of six poems by Li Bai (701-762), a legendary genius and notorious drunk.

— view score —

Li Bai Songs, for baritone voice, violin, & guitar, are settings, in Mandarin Chinese, of Tang Dynasty poetry by Li Bai (701-762). They are dedicated to Dr. Su Yu Xu and Dr. Pei Chen Ning, who introduced me to the poetry and revealed for me its sound and meaning. The songs were premiered November 9, 1999 by Patrick Mason, Curtis Macomber, and William Anderson, on the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society concert series in New York.

Li Bai, also known as Li Po, is one of the most renowned poets of the Tang dynasty, which is widely considered the golden age Chinese poetry. He briefly managed to hold a position in the imperial academy, but because of his rebellious temperament and his notorious drinking habits, he was not well suited to life at court. He was twice forced into exile, and spent most of his adult life wandering the country, writing poetry, and drinking. Chinese musicians have sung Li Bai’s poems for twelve centuries; Western composers who have worked with translations of them include Harry Partch, Charles Wuorinen, Anton Webern, and Gustav Mahler, among others.

Patrick Mason, baritone; Curtis Macomber, violin; William Anderson, guitar
Live recording of premiere performance, November 9, 1999
Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, Merkin Hall, NYC

I.

Have you not seen how the Yellow River, which flows from heaven
And hurries toward the sea, never turns back?
Have you not seen how at the bright mirrors of high halls,
men mourn their white hairs,
At dawn black silk, by evening changed to snow?
While there is pleasure in life, enjoy it,
And never let your gold cup face the moon empty!
Heaven gave me my talents, they shall be used;
A thousand in gold scattered and gone will all come back again.

II.

Moonlight in front of the bed,
Or is it frost on the ground?
I raise my head and look at the bright moon,
Lower my head and think of my homeland.

III.

Where Heaven’s Gate Mountain ends, the Chu River begins,
Emerald water flows east and returns north.
The two banks’ blue-green peaks face each other,
A single sail comes, in sunlight.

IV.

Among the flowers, a bottle of wine,
I drink alone, without loved ones.
Lifting my cup, I toast the bright moon.
Facing my shadow, we are three.
But the moon does not drink,
And the shadow just follows my body.
For now, with the moon and shadow I keep company;
We should make merry while it is spring.
I sing, and the moon paces back and forth.
I dance, and the shadow jumbles in disarray.
While sober we share happiness,
Once drunk, we go our separate ways.
In a bond eternal but passionless, we travel.
We will meet far beyond the cosmos.

V.

The sun shining on Incense-Urn waterfall makes purple smoke.
From the distance I see the pouring cloth hanging in front of the mountain.
It flies, flowing straight down three thousand feet.
It could be the Silver River [Milky Way] falling through nine heavens.

VI.

From the boat going to Guangling,
The moon shines brightly over Zhengluo pavillion.
The mountains blush with floral embroidery.
The lanterns on the river flow like fireflies.

(Poem I translated by A.C. Graham, poems II-VI translated by P.C. Ning.)