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Meng Haoran: Deer Gate Mountain

Deer Gate Mountain

题 鹿 门 山
清 晓 因 兴 来
乘 流 越 江 岘。
沙 禽 近 初 识
浦 树 遥 莫 辨。
渐 到 鹿 门 山
山 明 翠 微 浅。
岩 潭 多 屈 曲
舟 楫 屡 回 转。
昔 闻 庞 德 公
采 药 遂 不 返。
金 涧 饵 芝 术
石 床 卧 苔 藓。
纷 吾 感 耆 旧
结 缆 事 攀 践。
隐 迹 今 尚 存
高 风 邈 已 远。
白 云 何 时 去
丹 桂 空 偃 蹇。
探 讨 意 未 穷
回 艇 夕 阳 晚。


Ti Lu Men Shan

Qing xiao yin xing lai
Cheng liu yue jiang xian.
Sha qin jin chu shi
Pu shu yao mo bian.

Jian dao lu men shan
Shan ming cui wei qian.
Yan tan duo qu qu
Zhou ji lu hui zhuan.

Xi wen pang de gong
Cai yao sui bu fan.
Jin jian er zhi zhu
Shi chuang wo tai xian.

Fen wu gan qi jiu
Jie lan shi pan jian.
Yin ji jin shang cun
Gao feng miao yi yuan.

Bai yun he shi qu
Dan gui kong yan jian.
Tan tao yi wei qiong
Hui ting xi yang wan.


Deer Gate Mountain

With the clear dawn, comes joy and excitement
Ride atop the river currents into the Xian mountains.
Sand birds nearby, their presence becomes known
Riverbank trees so distant, cannot distinguish a single one.

Boat and river flows to Lumen Mountain
Mountains brighter, emerald-green colors lighten.
Steep rocks, deep pools with many bends and curves
Punt boat pole repeatedly moves back and forth.

Ancient story and reputation of Pangde Gong
Selects and gathers medicine plants, never to return.
Golden ravine waterfall, eat Chinese herbs of immortality
Lie on a rock bed, where the moss is rare.

Many and various feelings for this respected old man
Secure the boat’s rope, our task to climb up into the mountains.
All traces now hidden of his treasure and life
His spirit so high and remote, it is not yet time for me.

White clouds, whose time it is to go
Red osmanthus flowers, lie down spent.
Explore and examine this place’s meaning, not yet done
Our small bamboo boat must return, a silhouette in the late sunset.



Xian Mountains: Near the capital Chang’an in Shaanxi Province.

Lumen Mountain: During the first part of the Han dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD), a Buddhist temple was built in these mountains at a narrow opening. Two large stones were at the approach, like guardians. Perhaps because these looked like mountain deer, this place was called Lumen, or Deer Gate. Meng Haoran wrote this poem in his youth. Deer being a reference to Deer Park, the place where the Buddha first revealed the insights of his enlightenment.  Meng later returned and built a small house nearby.

Pangde Gong: A man from ancient times, who having refused a government position, took his family into the remote mountains for a simple and spiritual life. Here he wrote, played music, and practiced a Buddhist life in rural seclusion. The Chinese use the word yinju to express this life.

Chinese herbs of immortality: The rhizome of a Chinese plant in the aster, daisy, sunflower family . Moss is a codeword for yinju, a life of rural simplicity and spiritual pursuits.

Xiang River: Largest river in Hunan Province, and a major tributary of the Changjiang.

Osmanthus: Tree native to China, and source for tea and medicines.

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