AN ELEGY I
O youngest, best-loved daughter of Xie,
Who unluckily married this penniless scholar,
You patched my clothes from your own wicker basket,
And I coaxed off your hairpins of gold, to buy wine with;
For dinner we had to pick wild herbs --
And to use dry locust-leaves for our kindling.
...Today they are paying me a hundred thousand --
And all that I can bring to you is a temple sacrifice.
AN ElEGY II
We joked, long ago, about one of us dying,
But suddenly, before my eyes, you are gone.
Almost all your clothes have been given away;
Your needlework is sealed, I dare not look at it....
I continue your bounty to our men and our maids --
Sometimes, in a dream, I bring you gifts.
...This is a sorrow that all mankind must know --
But not as those know it who have been poor together.
AN ELEGY III
I sit here alone, mourning for us both.
How many years do I lack now of my threescore and ten?
There have been better men than I to whom heaven denied a son,
There was a poet better than I whose dead wife could not hear him.
What have I to hope for in the darkness of our tomb?
You and I had little faith in a meeting after death-
Yet my open eyes can see all night
That lifelong trouble of your brow.
TO MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS ADRIFT
IN TROUBLED TIMES THIS POEM OF THE MOON
Since the disorders in Henan and the famine in Guannei, my brothers and sisters have been scattered. Looking at the moon, I express my thoughts in this poem, which I send to my eldest brother at Fuliang, my seventh brother at Yuqian, My fifteen brother at Wujiang and my younger brothers and sisters at Fuli and Xiagui.
My heritage lost through disorder and famine,
My brothers and sisters flung eastward and westward,
My fields and gardens wrecked by the war,
My own flesh and blood become scum of the street,
I moan to my shadow like a lone-wandering wildgoose,
I am torn from my root like a water-plant in autumn:
I gaze at the moon, and my tears run down
For hearts, in five places, all sick with one wish.
THE INLAID HARP
I wonder why my inlaid harp has fifty strings,
Each with its flower-like fret an interval of youth.
...The sage Chuangzi is day-dreaming, bewitched by butterflies,
The spring-heart of Emperor Wang is crying in a cuckoo,
Mermen weep their pearly tears down a moon-green sea,
Blue fields are breathing their jade to the sun....
And a moment that ought to have lasted for ever
Has come and gone before I knew.
TO ONE UNNAMED
The stars of last night and the wind of last night
Are west of the Painted Chamber and east of Cinnamon Hall.
...Though I have for my body no wings like those of the bright- coloured phoenix,
Yet I feel the harmonious heart-beat of the Sacred Unicorn.
Across the spring-wine, while it warms me, I prompt you how to bet
Where, group by group, we are throwing dice in the light of a crimson lamp;
Till the rolling of a drum, alas, calls me to my duties
And I mount my horse and ride away, like a water-plant cut adrift.
THE PALACE OF THE SUI EMPEROR
His Palace of Purple Spring has been taken by mist and cloud,
As he would have taken all Yangzhou to be his private domain
But for the seal of imperial jade being seized by the first Tang Emperor,
He would have bounded with his silken sails the limits of the world.
Fire-flies are gone now, have left the weathered grasses,
But still among the weeping-willows crows perch at twilight.
...If he meets, there underground, the Later Chen Emperor,
Do you think that they will mention a Song of Courtyard Flowers?
TO ONE UNNAMED I
You said you would come, but you did not, and you left me with no other trace
Than the moonlight on your tower at the fifth-watch bell.
I cry for you forever gone, I cannot waken yet,
I try to read your hurried note, I find the ink too pale.
...Blue burns your candle in its kingfisher-feather lantern
And a sweet breath steals from your hibiscus-broidered curtain.
But far beyond my reach is the Enchanted Mountain,
And you are on the other side, ten thousand peaks away.
TO ONE UNNAMED II
A misty rain comes blowing with a wind from the east,
And wheels faintly thunder beyond Hibiscus Pool.
...Round the golden-toad lock, incense is creeping;
The jade tiger tells, on its cord, of water being drawn
A great lady once, from behind a screen, favoured a poor youth;
A fairy queen brought a bridal mat once for the ease of a prince and then vanished.
...Must human hearts blossom in spring, like all other flowers?
And of even this bright flame of love, shall there be only ashes?
IN THE CAMP OF THE SKETCHING BRUSH
Monkeys and birds are still alert for your orders
And winds and clouds eager to shield your fortress.
...You were master of the brush, and a sagacious general,
But your Emperor, defeated, rode the prison-cart.
You were abler than even the greatest Zhou statesmen,
Yet less fortunate than the two Shu generals who were killed in action.
And, though at your birth-place a temple has been built to you,
You never finished singing your Song of the Holy Mountain
TO ONE UNNAMED III
Time was long before I met her, but is longer since we parted,
And the east wind has arisen and a hundred flowers are gone,
And the silk-worms of spring will weave until they die
And every night the candles will weep their wicks away.
Mornings in her mirror she sees her hair-cloud changing,
Yet she dares the chill of moonlight with her evening song.
...It is not so very far to her Enchanted Mountain
O blue-birds, be listening!-Bring me what she says!
I am lying in a white-lined coat while the spring approaches,
But am thinking only of the White Gate City where I cannot be.
...There are two red chambers fronting the cold, hidden by the rain,
And a lantern on a pearl screen swaying my lone heart homeward.
...The long road ahead will be full of new hardship,
With, late in the nights, brief intervals of dream.
Oh, to send you this message, this pair of jade earrings! --
I watch a lonely wildgoose in three thousand miles of cloud.
TO ONE UNNAMED IV
A faint phoenix-tail gauze, fragrant and doubled,
Lines your green canopy, closed for the night....
Will your shy face peer round a moon-shaped fan,
And your voice be heard hushing the rattle of my carriage?
It is quiet and quiet where your gold lamp dies,
How far can a pomegranate-blossom whisper?
...I will tether my horse to a river willow
And wait for the will of the southwest wind.
TO ONE UNNAMED V
There are many curtains in your care-free house,
Where rapture lasts the whole night long.
...What are the lives of angels but dreams
If they take no lovers into their rooms?
...Storms are ravishing the nut-horns,
Moon- dew sweetening cinnamon-leaves
I know well enough naught can come of this union,
Yet how it serves to ease my heart!
NEAR THE LIZHOU FERRY
The sun has set in the water's clear void,
And little blue islands are one with the sky.
On the bank a horse neighs. A boat goes by.
People gather at a willow- clump and wait for the ferry.
Down by the sand-bushes sea-gulls are circling,
Over the wide river-lands flies an egret.
...Can you guess why I sail, like an ancient wise lover,
Through the misty Five Lakes, forgetting words?
THE TEMPLE OF SU WU
Though our envoy, Su Wu, is gone, body and soul,
This temple survives, these trees endure....
Wildgeese through the clouds are still calling to the moon there
And hill-sheep unshepherded graze along the border.
...Returning, he found his country changed
Since with youthful cap and sword he had left it.
His bitter adventures had won him no title....
Autumn-waves endlessly sob in the river.
A PALACE POEM
In twelve chambers the ladies, decked for the day,
Peer afar for their lord from their Fairy-View Lodge;
The golden toad guards the lock on the door-chain,
And the bronze-dragon water-clock drips through the morning
Till one of them, tilting a mirror, combs her cloud of hair
And chooses new scent and a change of silk raiment;
For she sees, between screen-panels, deep in the palace,
Eunuchs in court-dress preparing a bed.
A POOR GIRL
Living under a thatch roof, never wearing fragrant silk,
She longs to arrange a marriage, but how could she dare?
Who would know her simple face the loveliest of them all
When we choose for worldliness, not for worth?
Her fingers embroider beyond compare,
But she cannot vie with painted brows;
And year after year she has sewn gold thread
On bridal robes for other girls.
A girl of the Lu clan who lives in Golden-Wood Hall,
Where swallows perch in pairs on beams of tortoiseshell,
Hears the washing-mallets' cold beat shake the leaves down.
...The Liaoyang expedition will be gone ten years,
And messages are lost in the White Wolf River.
...Here in the City of the Red Phoenix autumn nights are long,
Where one who is heart-sick to see beyond seeing,
Sees only moonlight on the yellow-silk wave of her loom.
There seems to be no one on the empty mountain....
And yet I think I hear a voice,
Where sunlight, entering a grove,
Shines back to me from the green moss.
IN A RETREAT AMONG BAMBOOS
Leaning alone in the close bamboos,
I am playing my lute and humming a song
Too softly for anyone to hear --
Except my comrade, the bright moon.
Friend, I have watched you down the mountain
Till now in the dark I close my thatch door....
Grasses return again green in the spring,
But O my Prince of Friends, do you?
When those red berries come in springtime,
Flushing on your southland branches,
Take home an armful, for my sake,
As a symbol of our love.
You who have come from my old country,
Tell me what has happened there ! --
Was the plum, when you passed my silken window,
Opening its first cold blossom?
A FAREWELL TO CUI
Though you think to return to this maze of mountains,
Oh, let them brim your heart with wonder!....
Remember the fisherman from Wuling
Who had only a day in the Peach-Blossom Country.
ON SEEING THE SNOW-PEAK OF ZHONGNAN
See how Zhongnan Mountain soars
With its white top over floating clouds --
And a warm sky opening at the snow-line
While the town in the valley grows colder and colder.
A NIGHT-MOORING ON THE JIANDE RIVER
While my little boat moves on its mooring of mist,
And daylight wanes, old memories begin....
How wide the world was, how close the trees to heaven,
And how clear in the water the nearness of the moon!
A SPRING MORNING
I awake light-hearted this morning of spring,
Everywhere round me the singing of birds --
But now I remember the night, the storm,
And I wonder how many blossoms were broken.
IN THE QUIET NIGHT
So bright a gleam on the foot of my bed --
Could there have been a frost already?
Lifting myself to look, I found that it was moonlight.
Sinking back again, I thought suddenly of home.
A BITTER LOVE
How beautiful she looks, opening the pearly casement,
And how quiet she leans, and how troubled her brow is!
You may see the tears now, bright on her cheek,
But not the man she so bitterly loves.
THE EIGHT-SIDED FORTRESS
The Three Kingdoms, divided, have been bound by his greatness.
The Eight-Sided Fortress is founded on his fame;
Beside the changing river, it stands stony as his grief
That he never conquered the Kingdom of Wu.
AT HERON LODGE
Mountains cover the white sun,
And oceans drain the golden river;
But you widen your view three hundred miles
By going up one flight of stairs.
ON PARTING WITH THE BUDDHIST PILGRIM LING CHE
From the temple, deep in its tender bamboos,
Comes the low sound of an evening bell,
While the hat of a pilgrim carries the sunset
Farther and farther down the green mountain.
ON HEARING A LUTE-PLAYER
Your seven strings are like the voice
Of a cold wind in the pines,
Singing old beloved songs
Which no one cares for any more.
FAREWELL TO A BUDDHIST MONK
Can drifting clouds and white storks
Be tenants in this world of ours? --
Or you still live on Wuzhou Mountain,
Now that people are coming here?
AN AUTUMN NIGHT MESSAGE TO QIU
As I walk in the cool of the autumn night,
Thinking of you, singing my poem,
I hear a mountain pine-cone fall....
You also seem to be awake.
ON HEARING HER PLAY THE HARP
Her hands of white jade by a window of snow
Are glimmering on a golden-fretted harp --
And to draw the quick eye of Chou Yu,
She touches a wrong note now and then.
On the third day, taking my place to cook,
Washing my hands to make the bridal soup,
I decide that not my mother-in-law
But my husband's young sister shall have the fiat taste.
THE JADE DRESSING-TABLE
Last night my girdle came undone,
And this morning a luck-beetle flew over my bed.
So here are my paints and here are my powders --
And a welcome for my yoke again.
A hundred mountains and no bird,
A thousand paths without a footprint;
A little boat, a bamboo cloak,
An old man fishing in the cold river-snow.
THE SUMMER PALACE
In the faded old imperial palace,
Peonies are red, but no one comes to see them....
The ladies-in-waiting have grown white-haired
Debating the pomps of Emperor Xuanzong.
A SUGGESTION TO MY FRIEND LIU
There's a gleam of green in an old bottle,
There's a stir of red in the quiet stove,
There's a feeling of snow in the dusk outside --
What about a cup of wine inside?
SHE SINGS AN OLD SONG
A lady of the palace these twenty years,
She has lived here a thousand miles from her home-
Yet ask her for this song and, with the first few words of it,
See how she tries to hold back her tears.
THE LEYOU TOMBS
With twilight shadows in my heart
I have driven up among the Leyou Tombs
To see the sun, for all his glory,
Buried by the coming night.
A NOTE LEFT FOR AN ABSENT ECLUSE
When I questioned your pupil, under a pine-tree,
"My teacher," he answered, " went for herbs,
But toward which corner of the mountain,
How can I tell, through all these clouds ?"
CROSSING THE HAN RIVER
Away from home, I was longing for news
Winter after winter, spring after spring.
Now, nearing my village, meeting people,
I dare not ask a single question.
A SPRING SIGH
Drive the orioles away,
All their music from the trees....
When she dreamed that she went to Liaoxi Camp
To join him there, they wakened her
GENERAL GE SHU
This constellation, with its seven high stars,
Is Ge Shu lifting his sword in the night:
And no more barbarians, nor their horses, nor cattle,
Dare ford the river boundary.
A SONG OF CHANGGAN I
"Tell me, where do you live? --
Near here, by the fishing-pool?
Let's hold our boats together, let's see
If we belong in the same town."
A SONG OF CHANGGAN II
"Yes, I live here, by the river;
I have sailed on it many and many a time.
Both of us born in Changgan, you and I!
Why haven't we always known each other?"
A SIGH FROM A STAIRCASE OF JADE
Her jade-white staircase is cold with dew;
Her silk soles are wet, she lingered there so long....
Behind her closed casement, why is she still waiting,
Watching through its crystal pane the glow of the autumn moon?
His golden arrow is tipped with hawk's feathers,
His embroidered silk flag has a tail like a swallow.
One man, arising, gives a new order
To the answering shout of a thousand tents.
The woods are black and a wind assails the grasses,
Yet the general tries night archery --
And next morning he finds his white-plumed arrow
Pointed deep in the hard rock.
High in the faint moonlight, wildgeese are soaring.
Tartar chieftains are fleeing through the dark --
And we chase them, with horses lightly burdened
And a burden of snow on our bows and our swords.
Let feasting begin in the wild camp!
Let bugles cry our victory!
Let us drink, let us dance in our golden armour!
Let us thunder on rivers and hills with our drums!
A SONG OF THE SOUTHERN RIVER
Since I married the merchant of Qutang
He has failed each day to keep his word....
Had I thought how regular the tide is,
I might rather have chosen a river-boy.
I left home young. I return old;
Speaking as then, but with hair grown thin;
And my children, meeting me, do not know me.
They smile and say: "Stranger, where do you come from?"
A bridge flies away through a wild mist,
Yet here are the rocks and the fisherman's boat.
Oh, if only this river of floating peach-petals
Might lead me at last to the mythical cave!
ON THE MOUNTAIN HOLIDAY
THINKING OF MY BROTHERS IN SHANDONG
All alone in a foreign land,
I am twice as homesick on this day
When brothers carry dogwood up the mountain,
Each of them a branch-and my branch missing.
AT HIBISCUS INN
PARTING WITH XIN JIAN
With this cold night-rain hiding the river, you have come into Wu.
In the level dawn, all alone, you will be starting for the mountains of Chu.
Answer, if they ask of me at Loyang:
"One-hearted as ice in a crystal vase."
IN HER QUIET WINDOW
Too young to have learned what sorrow means,
Attired for spring, she climbs to her high chamber....
The new green of the street-willows is wounding her heart --
Just for a title she sent him to war.
A SONG OF THE SPRING PALACE
Last night, while a gust blew peach-petals open
And the moon shone high on the Palace Beyond Time,
The Emperor gave Pingyang, for her dancing,
Brocades against the cold spring-wind.
A SONG OF LIANGZHOU
They sing, they drain their cups of jade,
They strum on horseback their guitars.
...Why laugh when they fall asleep drunk on the sand ? --
How many soldiers ever come home?
A FAREWELL TO MENG HAORAN
ON HIS WAY TO YANGZHOU
You have left me behind, old friend, at the Yellow Crane Terrace,
On your way to visit Yangzhou in the misty month of flowers;
Your sail, a single shadow, becomes one with the blue sky,
Till now I see only the river, on its way to heaven.
THROUGH THE YANGZI GORGES
From the walls of Baidi high in the coloured dawn
To Jiangling by night-fall is three hundred miles,
Yet monkeys are still calling on both banks behind me
To my boat these ten thousand mountains away.
ON MEETING A MESSENGER TO THE CAPITAL
It's a long way home, a long way east.
I am old and my sleeve is wet with tears.
We meet on horseback. I have no means of writing.
Tell them three words: "He is safe."
ON MEETING LI GUINIAN DOWN THE RIVER
I met you often when you were visiting princes
And when you were playing in noblemen's halls.
...Spring passes.... Far down the river now,
I find you alone under falling petals.
AT CHUZHOU ON THE WESTERN STREAM
Where tender grasses rim the stream
And deep boughs trill with mango-birds,
On the spring flood of last night's rain
The ferry-boat moves as though someone were poling.
A NIGHT-MOORING NEAR MAPLE BRIDGE
While I watch the moon go down, a crow caws through the frost;
Under the shadows of maple-trees a fisherman moves with his torch;
And I hear, from beyond Suzhou, from the temple on Cold Mountain,
Ringing for me, here in my boat, the midnight bell.
AFTER THE DAY OF NO FIRE
Petals of spring fly all through the city
From the wind in the willows of the Imperial River.
And at dusk, from the palace, candles are given out
To light first the mansions of the Five Great Lords.
A MOONLIGHT NIGHT
When the moon has coloured half the house,
With the North Star at its height and the South Star setting,
I can fed the first motions of the warm air of spring
In the singing of an insect at my green-silk window.
With twilight passing her silken window,
She weeps alone in her chamber of gold
For spring is departing from a desolate garden,
And a drift of pear-petals is closing a door.
A TROOPER'S BURDEN
For years, to guard the Jade Pass and the River of Gold,
With our hands on our horse-whips and our swordhilts,
We have watched the green graves change to snow
And the Yellow Stream ring the Black Mountain forever.
A PALACE POEM
High above, from a jade chamber, songs float half-way to heaven,
The palace-girls' gay voices are mingled with the wind --
But now they are still, and you hear a water-clock drip in the Court of the Moon....
They have opened the curtain wide, they are facing the River of Stars.
ON HEARING A FLUTE AT NIGHT
FROM THE WALL OF SHOUXIANG
The sand below the border-mountain lies like snow,
And the moon like frost beyond the city-wall,
And someone somewhere, playing a flute,
Has made the soldiers homesick all night long.
Grass has run wild now by the Bridge of Red-Birds;
And swallows' wings, at sunset, in Blacktail Row
Where once they visited great homes,
Dip among doorways of the poor.
A SPRING SONG
In gala robes she comes down from her chamber
Into her courtyard, enclosure of spring....
When she tries from the centre to count the flowers,
On her hairpin of jade a dragon-fly poises.
A SONG OF THE PALACE
Her tears are spent, but no dreams come.
She can hear the others singing through the night.
She has lost his love. Alone with her beauty,
She leans till dawn on her incense-pillow.
OF ONE IN THE FORBIDDEN CITY
When the moonlight, reaching a tree by the gate,
Shows her a quiet bird on its nest,
She removes her jade hairpins and sits in the shadow
And puts out a flame where a moth was flying.
ON THE TERRACE OF ASSEMBLED ANGELS I
The sun has gone slanting over a lordly roof
And red-blossoming branches have leaned toward the dew
Since the Emperor last night summoned a new favourite
And Lady Yang's bright smile came through the curtains.
ON THE TERRACE OF ASSEMBLED ANGELS II
The Emperor has sent for Lady Guoguo.
In the morning, riding toward the palace-gate,
Disdainful of the paint that might have marred her beauty,
To meet him she smooths her two moth-tiny eyebrows.
AT NANJING FERRY
This one-story inn at Nanjing ferry
Is a miserable lodging-place for the night --
But across the dead moon's ebbing tide,
Lights from Guazhou beckon on the river.
A SONG OF THE PALACE
Now that the palace-gate has softly closed on its flowers,
Ladies file out to their pavilion of jade,
Abrim to the lips with imperial gossip
But not daring to breathe it with a parrot among them.
ON THE EVE OF GOVERNMENT EXAMINATIONS
TO SECRETARY ZHANG
Out go the great red wedding-chamber candles.
Tomorrow in state the bride faces your parents.
She has finished preparing; she asks of you meekly
Whether her eyebrows are painted in fashion.
I CLIMB TO THE LEYOU TOMBS
BEFORE LEAVING FOR WUXING
Even in this good reign, how can I serve?
The lone cloud rather, the Buddhist peace....
Once more, before crossing river and sea,
I face the great Emperor's mountain-tomb.
BY THE PURPLE CLIFF
On a part of a spear still unrusted in the sand
I have burnished the symbol of an ancient kingdom....
Except for a wind aiding General Zhou Yu,
Spring would have sealed both Qiao girls in CopperBird Palace.
A MOORING ON THE QIN HUAI RIVER
Mist veils the cold stream, and moonlight the sand,
As I moor in the shadow of a river-tavern,
Where girls, with no thought of a perished kingdom,
Gaily echo A Song of Courtyard Flowers.
A MESSAGE TO HAN CHO THE YANGZHOU MAGISTRATE
There are faint green mountains and far green waters,
And grasses in this river region not yet faded by autumn;
And clear in the moon on the Twenty-Four Bridges,
Girls white as jade are teaching flute-music.
With my wine-bottle, watching by river and lake
For a lady so tiny as to dance on my palm,
I awake, after dreaming ten years in Yangzhou,
Known as fickle, even in the Street of Blue Houses.
IN THE AUTUMN NIGHT
Her candle-light is silvery on her chill bright screen.
Her little silk fan is for fireflies....
She lies watching her staircase cold in the moon,
And two stars parted by the River of Heaven.
She is slim and supple and not yet fourteen,
The young spring-tip of a cardamon-spray.
On the Yangzhou Road for three miles in the breeze
Every pearl-screen is open. But there's no one like her.
How can a deep love seem deep love,
How can it smile, at a farewell feast?
Even the candle, feeling our sadness,
Weeps, as we do, all night long.
THE GARDEN OF THE GOLDEN VALLEY
Stories of passion make sweet dust,
Calm water, grasses unconcerned.
At sunset, when birds cry in the wind,
Petals are falling like a girl s robe long ago.
NOTE ON A RAINY NIGHT TO A FRIEND IN THE NORTH
You ask me when I am coming. I do not know.
I dream of your mountains and autumn pools brimming all night with the rain.
Oh, when shall we be trimming wicks again, together in your western window?
When shall I be hearing your voice again, all night in the rain?
A MESSAGE TO SECRETARY LINGHU
I am far from the clouds of Sung Mountain, a long way from trees in Qin;
And I send to you a message carried by two carp:
-- Absent this autumn from the Prince's garden,
There's a poet at Maoling sick in the rain.
THERE IS ONLY ONE
There is only one Carved-Cloud, exquisite always-
Yet she dreads the spring, blowing cold in the palace,
When her husband, a Knight of the Golden Tortoise,
Will leave her sweet bed, to be early at court.
THE SUI PALACE
When gaily the Emperor toured the south
Contrary to every warning,
His whole empire cut brocades,
Half for wheel-guards, half for sails.
THE JADE POOL
The Mother of Heaven, in her window by the Jade Pool,
Hears The Yellow Bamboo Song shaking the whole earth.
Where is Emperor Mu, with his eight horses running
Ten thousand miles a day? Why has he never come back?
TO THE MOON GODDESS
Now that a candle-shadow stands on the screen of carven marble
And the River of Heaven slants and the morning stars are low,
Are you sorry for having stolen the potion that has set you
Over purple seas and blue skies, to brood through the long nights?
When the Emperor sought guidance from wise men, from exiles,
He found no calmer wisdom than that of young Jia
And assigned him the foremost council-seat at midnight,
Yet asked him about gods, instead of about people.
SHE SIGHS ON HER JADE LUTE
A cool-matted silvery bed; but no dreams....
An evening sky as green as water, shadowed with tender clouds;
But far off over the southern rivers the calling of a wildgoose,
And here a twelve-story building, lonely under the moon.
ON MAWEI SLOPE
When the Emperor came back from his ride they had murdered Lady Yang --
That passion unforgettable through all the suns and moons
They had led him to forsake her by reminding him
Of an emperor slain with his lady once, in a well at Jingyang Palace.
Her jade-green alcove curtained thick with silk,
Her vermilion screen with its pattern of flowers,
Her eight- foot dragon-beard mat and her quilt brocaded in squares
Are ready now for nights that are neither warm nor cold.
A NANJING LANDSCAPE
Though a shower bends the river-grass, a bird is singing,
While ghosts of the Six Dynasties pass like a dream
Around the Forbidden City, under weeping willows
Which loom still for three miles along the misty moat.
Thinking only of their vow that they would crush the Tartars- -
On the desert, clad in sable and silk, five thousand of them fell....
But arisen from their crumbling bones on the banks of the river at the border,
Dreams of them enter, like men alive, into rooms where their loves lie sleeping.
I go in a dream to the house of Xie
Through a zigzag porch with arching rails
To a court where the spring moon lights for ever
Phantom flowers and a single figure.
THE DAY OF NO FIRE
As the holiday approaches, and grasses are bright after rain,
And the causeway gleams with willows, and wheatfields wave in the wind,
We are thinking of our kinsfolk, far away from us.
O cuckoo, why do you follow us, why do you call us home?
A SONG AT WEICHENG
A morning-rain has settled the dust in Weicheng;
Willows are green again in the tavern dooryard....
Wait till we empty one more cup --
West of Yang Gate there'll be no old friends.
A SONG OF AN AUTUMN NIGHT
Under the crescent moon a light autumn dew
Has chilled the robe she will not change --
And she touches a silver lute all night,
Afraid to go back to her empty room.
A SIGH IN THE COURT OF PERPETUAL FAITH
She brings a broom at dawn to the Golden Palace doorway
And dusts the hall from end to end with her round fan,
And, for all her jade-whiteness, she envies a crow
Whose cold wings are kindled in the Court of the Bright Sun.
OVER THE BORDER
The moon goes back to the time of Qin, the wall to the time of Han,
And the road our troops are travelling goes back three hundred miles....
Oh, for the Winged General at the Dragon City --
That never a Tartar horseman might cross the Yin Mountains!
BEYOND THE BORDER
Where a yellow river climbs to the white clouds,
Near the one city-wall among ten-thousand-foot mountains,
A Tartar under the willows is lamenting on his flute
That spring never blows to him through the Jade Pass
A SONG OF PURE HAPPINESS I
Her robe is a cloud, her face a flower;
Her balcony, glimmering with the bright spring dew,
Is either the tip of earth's Jade Mountain
Or a moon- edged roof of paradise.
A SONG OF PURE HAPPINESS II
There's a perfume stealing moist from a shaft of red blossom,
And a mist, through the heart, from the magical Hill of Wu- -
The palaces of China have never known such beauty-
Not even Flying Swallow with all her glittering garments.
A SONG OF PURE HAPPINESS III
Lovely now together, his lady and his flowers
Lighten for ever the Emperor's eye,
As he listens to the sighing of the far spring wind
Where she leans on a railing in the Aloe Pavilion.
THE GOLD-THREADED ROBE
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Covet not a gold-threaded robe,
Cherish only your young days!
If a bud open, gather it --
Lest you but wait for an empty bough.