This is a very rough translation and annotation of the poem 古興 (Gǔxìng), ‘Ancient Inspiration’, by the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet 常建 (Cháng Jiàn).
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古興 Gǔxìng [old] [inspiration] Ancient Inspiration
漢上逢老翁， Hàn shàng féng lǎowēng, [Han] [on] [encounter] [old] [elderly man] On the River Han one encounters old men;
江口為僵屍。 jiāngkǒu wèi jiāngshī. [river] [mouth] [be] [stiff] [corpse] at the river mouth they become a stiff corpses.
白髮沾黃泥， Bái fà zhān huáng ní, [white] [hair] [moisten] [yellow] [mud] Their white hair is moistened with yellow mud;
遺骸集烏鴟。 yíhái jí wū chī. [leave behind] [bones] [gather] [crow] [owl] their remains attract a gathering of black ravens.
機巧自此忘， Jīqiǎo zì cǐ wàng, [cunning] [from] [this] [forget] Their cunning one hereafter forgets -
精魄今何之。 jīng pò jīn hé zhī. [essence] [soul] [today] [what] [it] where has their spirit gone now?
風吹釣竿折， Fēngchuī diàogān zhé, [wind] [blow] [fishing] [pole] [break] The wind blows and one's fishing rod snaps;
魚躍安能施。 yú yuè ān néng shī. [fish] [jump] [how] [can] [carry out] the fish leaps around - how can one use one's skills?
白水明汀洲， Báishuǐ míng tīng zhōu, [white] [water] [bright] [shoal] [island] The white water brightens the islet;
菰蒲冒深陂。 gūpú mào shēn pō. [reeds] [intrude] [deep] [bank] reeds encroach on deep banks.
唯留扁舟影， Wéi liú piānzhōu yǐng, [only] [leave] [small boat] [boat] [reflection] All that is left is the shadow of a small boat;
繫在長江湄。 xì zài chángjiāng méi. [tie] [at] [long] [river] [edge] one ties it at the edge of the Yangzi.
突兀枯松枝， Túwù kū sōngzhī, [towering] [dried up] [pine] [branch] Towering high, dried up pine branches;
悠揚女蘿絲。 yōuyáng nǚluó sī. [draw out] [hoist] [vine] [thread] strands of vine are lifted up high.
託身難憑依， Tuō shēn nán píngyī, [entrust] [oneself] [difficult] [rely on] [depend on] Propping up one's body, it is hard to rely on these things;
生死焉相知。 shēngsǐ yān xiāngzhī. [life] [death] [how] [each other] [know] the living and the dead - how can they know each other?
徧觀今時人， Biàn guān jīnshí rén, [all] [look] [today] [time] [person] Widely looking at the people of today, (徧 = 遍.)
舉世皆爾爲。 jǔshì jiē ěr wèi. [throughout the world] [all] [you] [be] throughout the world, all are like you.
將軍死重圍， Jiāngjūn sǐ zhòngwéi, [general] [army] [die] [heavy] [siege] A general dies and there is a heavy siege;
漢卒猶爭馳。 hàn zú yóu zhēng chí. [Han] [soldier] [still] [strive for] [rush] the Han soldiers still compete to be rush forward.
百馬同一銜， Bǎi mǎ tóngyī xián, [hundred] [horse] [same] [one] [bit] A hundred horses on the same bridle;
萬輪同一規。 wàn lún tóngyī guī. [ten thousand] [wheel] [same] [one] [axle] ten thousand wheels on the same axle.
名與身孰親， Míng yǔ shēn shú qīn, [name] [and] [personal] [who] [intimate] One's name or body - which means more to you? -
君子宜固思。 jūnzǐ yí gù sī. [nobleman] [hard] [should] [consider] you, sir, should think hard about this.
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