"On Plum Blossoms"
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 though 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, hsiao,hsiao,
Falls like a thousend 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 had gone beyond the sky,
And there is no one to give it to.
-Translated by: Kenneth Rexroth
"No Loss No Gain"
The candle melts itself,
And the wick burns itself,
Just to give us away its light.
The incense stick
And turns to smoke itself,
Just to give us its aroma.
The sandalwood grinds itself,
paste, it becomes itself,
Just to give us away its scent.
The rose crushes itself,
And in water sinks itself,
Just to give us its flavor-drink.
The sugar cane crushes itself,
And becomes crystal itself,
Just to sweeten
The field takes the seeds itself,
And turns them into plants itself,
Just to give us rich corn.
tree labors itself,
And grows tall itself,
Just to give us its juicy fruits.
The cocoon spins itself,
then unwinds itself,
Just to give us its silk.
The milk curdles itself,
And again churns itself,
give us its butter.
The mother suffers pain herself,
But still smiles herself,
Just to feed the baby with her
The camphor fumes itself,
And turns black smoke itself,
Just to illuminate the Lord.
One can gain
Only by losing something,
That's the law of nature.
Yes, the sacrifice's the mother,
in our life, we gather,
As the fruit of our labor.
So, grieve not over your loss,
A stepping stone to your
If you want to remain happy always.
"The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter"
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 fourteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousend 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.
-Translated by: Ezra Pound
"On His Exit"
no one knows
the mystery of your exit
it was sudden
and a laboured one
like a modern poem
with hasty allusions
now I feel an absence
and often cry
but only to tell myself
'you are gone, forever,
and far away'
I am the last
line of her poem
her last poem
her own faith
in a person
she knew so well
despite all agony and loss