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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On Plum Blossoms (Li Ch'ing-chao)

This morning I woke
in a bamboo bed with paper curtains.
I have no words for my weary sorrow,
no fine poetic thoughts.
The sandalwood incense smoke is stale,
the jade burner is cold.
I feel as if I were filled with quivering water.
To accompany my feelings
someone plays three times on a flute
"Plum Blossoms Are Falling
in a Village by the River."
How bitter this Spring is.
Small wind, fine rain, hisao, hsiao,
falls like a thousand lines of tears.
The flute player is gone.
The jade tower is empty.
Broken hearted- we had relied on each other.
I pick a plum branch,
but my man has gone beyond the sky,
and there is no one to give it to.

Two Springs (Li Ch'ing-chao)

Spring has come to the women's quarter.
Once more the new grass is Kingfisher green.
The cracked red buds of plum blossoms
Are still unopened little balls.
Blue-green clouds carve jade dragons.
The jade powder becomes fine dust.
I try to hold on to my morning dream.
I have already drained and broken
The cup of Spring.
Flower shadows lie heavy
On the garden gate.
In the orange twilight
Pale moonlight spreads
On the translucent curtain.
Three times in two years
My lord has gone away to the East.
Today he returns,
And my joy is already
Greater than the Spring.