The West Building
(To the Tune of Dielianhua)
What happened in the parting, in my cups
in the west building, I cannot remember, waking
from a drunk sleep.
Dreams in the spring,
Clouds in the autumn.
It is easy to meet, and to part too.
The moon slanting through the window,
I lie sleepless. The pained screen
unfolds, at its leisure,
the verdant southern mountains.
The wine-stains on the clothes,
the words in the poem, line
upon line, drop after drop,
all speak of melancholy.
Even the red candle feels helpless,
in the cold night, shedding tears
for me, in vain.
(To the Tune of Zhegutian)
Holding the jade cup to you,
with my arms reaching
out of the florid sleeves,
I was so happy drinking with you,
heedless of my flushed cheeks, dancing
with the moon sinking
in the willow trees, singing
until I was too tired
to wave the fan that unfolds
a peach blossom.
How I have since missed you,
dreaming of meeting you again and again.
Tonight, I keep turning the silver lamp
to your face. Oh, we are really meeting
in a recurring dream.
Immortals on the Magpie Bridge
Her love into th’ clouds the Maid subtly weaves,
And th’ shooting stars display how th’ Cowherd grieves.
When dew falls the Milky Way sees their meeting rare.
However, no secular love can e’er compare
With the holy sentiments they for a time share.
Their tender feeling is like a long stream;
Their rendezvous’s like a transient dream.
They may not bear to part at th’ Magpie Bridge! But nay,
So long as undying their affections will stay,
Whereat should they be bound up every night and day?
In the night fast passing now,
The moon proves to be too bright.
The poor crows aren’t used to it.
They have had a restless night.
The drip-drops of the time-piece—
Points to the small hours of morn.
O’er the well, the pulley squeaks,
As water is being drawn.
Her eyes, open, roll about.
Of sleep, she has not got a wink.
Cold and wet is the pillow,
Into which many tears sink.
Her fingers are interlaced—
In agony and despair.
Shadows flit o’er her temples,
As frosty winds blow her hair.
From the pain which torments her,
She can’t find any relief.
His words uttered at parting—
Echo in her heart with grief.
The pole star appears aslant,
At the arrival of day.
Cockcrows grow more widespread,
As her gets farther away.
Above the city walls of Nanjing
A look from atop walls of Nanjing,
At the middle reaches of the Yangzi,
Shows a boundless stretch of low-ceilinged sky.
Nothing else can the keen observer see.
The capital of the Six Dynasties!
What reflections it calls forth in one’s mind!
The green hills are still there like heavy walls.
Strategic worth is what the Dynasts find.
War banners must have blotted out the sun;
Galleys, in close formation, well deployed.
Powered bleached bones–like so much fallen snow.
Numberless heroes, wars must have destroyed!
A summer palace was constructed here,
To relieve the tedium of the Throne.
Where royal carriages wore out the road,
Fragrant grass each year has luxuriant grown.
In the quiet paths below the pine trees,
When the sun was down with no one about,
Jack-o’-lantern gave and shut off light.
Will-o’-the-wisp ghastly rolled in and out.
For all the sensual pleasures of high life,
One’s hair turns white from what was black as jet.
The moon o’er the Qinghuaihe must have seen—
Too much not to be filled with long regret.