green trees on mountain covered with fog

Rainfall in the Midst of Autumn

崔致远 (857-900)


Rainfall in the Midst of Autumn
Choe Chiwon (857-900) 
Translated by Jonathan Chan

in the autumn wind i chant 


              no one on earth knows

my voice. 

                           before my windows it 

rains	  throughout the night. 

                               sitting before 

a lamp, my heart takes 

                              a thousand leaps. 

Choe Chi-won 崔致遠 (857-c. 920) was a Korean philosopher and poet of the late medieval Unified Silla period (668-935). He studied in Tang China from the age of 12, passed the Tang imperial examination within a decade and received the coveted jinshi (進士) degree, and was appointed to a prefectural office in the south of China. Choe served in China for nearly a decade, rising to high office, before returning to Silla. He made ultimately futile attempts to pursue government reform in Silla before retreating to Silla’s Buddhist Haeinsa temple as a hermit scholar. He is widely considered a progenitor of Korean literature and one of few foreign poets frequently anthologized in Tang and Song poetry anthologies.

Jonathan Chan 陈超义 is a writer, editor, and translator of poems and essays. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore and educated at Cambridge and Yale Universities. He is the author of the poetry collection going home (Landmark, 2022). He has an abiding interest in faith, identity, and creative expression. His translations of poems have been featured or forthcoming in Asymptote JournalJournal of Practice, Research and Tangential Activities (PR&TA) and SingPoWriMo Magazine. More of his writing can be found at

One thought on “Rainfall in the Midst of Autumn

  1. Dear Stephen Roach, Jessica Weiss, Deborah Davis and the Founding Team,

    Hello! I wanted to comment earlier but have had to attend to some errands first. Finally, I avail myself of the time to complete the task of submitting a comment here to communicate with you as follows.

    I have subscribed to and perused your commendable China Hands magazine (日中通论坛]) promoting the important bilateral relationship between the USA and China.

    Having decided to leave my first comment here, I would like to inform you that Jonathan Chan’s English translation of the poem of Choe Chi-won (崔致遠), entitled “Rainfall in the Midst of Autumn (秋夜雨中)”, is well done and delightful. Thank you.

    Recently, I have taken the liberty to translate four Chinese poems into English in a multifaceted, culturally significant post entitled “🌕🎴 Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節): Moon Celebration 🌅🎑🏮🎐🥮🈷️”, available at

    I welcome your input there as I am certainly very keen and curious about what you will make of my said post, given your respective knowledge and expertise. Thank you in anticipation.

    May you find the rest of 2022 very much to your liking and highly conducive to your writing, reading, thinking, researching and publishing whatever topics and articles that not only accommodate our intellectual and creative endeavours but also advance the missions of this magazine!

    Yours sincerely,

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