Poem without a Title
Last night's stars, last night's winds,
By the West wall of the painted house,East of the hall of cassia.
For bodies no fluttering side by side of splendid phoenix wings,
For hearts the one minute thread from root to tip of the magic horn.
At separate tables, played hook-in-the-palm. The wine of spring warmed.
Teamed as rivals, guessed what the cup hid. The candle flame reddened.
Alas, I hear the drum, must go where office summons, Ride my horse to the Orchid Terrace,
the wind-uprooted weed my likeness.
The Jewel Stairs' Grievance
The jewelled steps are already quite white with dew,
It is so late that the dew soaks my gauze stockings,
And I let down the crystal curtain
And watch the moon through the clear autumn.
(tr. Ezra Pound)
THE RIVER-MERCHANT'S WIFE
While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
I played about the front gate, pulling flowers.
You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse,
You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums.
And we went on living in the village of Chokan:
Two small people, without dislike or suspicion.
At forteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back.
At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours
Forever and forever and forever.
Why should I climb the look out?
At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-en, by the river of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.
You dragged your feet when you went out.
By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,
Too deep to clear them away!
The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me. I grow older.
If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
As far as Cho-fu-Sa.
(trans. Ezra Pound)
Taking Leave of a Friend
Blue mountains to the north of the walls,
White river winding about them;
Here we must make separation
And go out through a thousand miles of dead grass.
Mind like a floating wide cloud,
Sunset like the parting of old acquaintances
Who bow over their clasped hands at a distance.
Our horses neigh to each others
as we are departing.
(trans. Ezra Pound)