Ma Zhiyuan's sanqu poem "Autumn Thoughts" (秋思), composed to the metric pattern Tianjingsha (天淨沙), uses ten images in twenty-two monosyllables to preamble a state of emotion, and is considered as the penultimate piece in Chinese poetry to convey the typical Chinese male literati's melancholy during late autumn:
- 《秋思》 Autumn Thoughts
- 枯藤老樹昏鴉。 Over old trees wreathed with rotten vines fly evening crows;
- 小橋流水人家。 Under a small bridge near a cottage a stream flows;
- 古道西風瘦馬。 On ancient road in the west wind a lean horse goes.
- 夕陽西下，斷腸人在天涯。 Westward declines the sun; Far, far from home is the heartbroken one.
Only seven of his 15 plays are extant, of which four have been translated into English:
- Autumn in Han Palace, 漢宮秋 (Full title: Breaking a Troubling Dream: A Lone Goose in Autumn over the Palaces of Han, 破幽夢孤雁漢宮秋))
- The Yellow-Millet Dream, 黃粱夢 (Full title: On the Road to Handan, Awakening from a Dream Dreamt While Cooking Millet, 邯鄲道省悟黃粱夢)
- Yueyang Tower, 岳陽樓 (Full title: Lü Dongbin Gets Drunk Three Times in Yueyang Tower, 呂洞賓三醉岳陽樓)
- Tears on the Blue Gown, 青衫淚 (Full title: The Overseer of Jiangzhou: Tears on the Blue Gown, 江州司馬青衫淚)
- 任風子 (Full title: 馬丹陽三度任風子)
- 薦福碑 (Full title: 半夜雷轟薦福碑)
- 陳搏高臥 (Full title: 西華山陳搏高臥)