After the shower at Bashang
TO A FRIEND BOUND EAST
The old fort brims with yellow leaves….
You insist upon forsaking this place where you have lived.
A high wind blows at Hanyang Ferry
And sunrise lights the summit of Yingmen….
Who will be left for me along the upper Yangzi
After your solitary skiff has entered the end of the sky?
I ask you over and over when we shall meet again,
While we soften with winecups this ache of farewell.
AN AUTUMN COTTAGE AT BASHANG
After the shower at Bashang,
I see an evening line of wildgeese,
The limp-hanging leaves of a foreign tree,
A lantern’s cold gleam, lonely in the night,
An empty garden, white with dew,
The ruined wall of a neighbouring monastery.
…I have taken my ease here long enough.
What am I waiting for, I wonder.
THOUGHTS OF OLD TIME
ON THE CHU RIVER
A cold light shines on the gathering dew,
As sunset fades beyond the southern mountains;
Trees echo with monkeys on the banks of Lake Dongting,
Where somebody is moving in an orchid-wood boat.
Marsh-lands are swollen wide with the moon,
While torrents are bent to the mountains’ will;
And the vanished Queens of the Clouds leave me
Sad with autumn all night long.
The border is open to travel again;
And Tartars can no more choose than rivers:
They are running, all of them, toward the south.
ON NEW YEAR’S EVE
Farther and farther from the three Ba Roads,
I have come three thousand miles, anxious and watchful,
Through pale snow-patches in the jagged nightmountains —
A stranger with a lonely lantern shaken in the wind.
…Separation from my kin
Binds me closer to my servants —
Yet how I dread, so far adrift,
New Year’s Day, tomorrow morning!