Some of her poems
For the Courtesan Ch'ing Lin
"On your slender body
Your jade and coral girdle ornaments chime
Like those of a celestial companion
Come from the Green Jade City of Heaven.
One smile from you when we meet,
And I become speechless and forget every word.
For too long you have gathered flowers,
And leaned against the bamboos,
Your green sleeves growing cold,
In your deserted valley:
I can visualize you all alone,
A girl harboring her cryptic thoughts.
"You glow like a perfumed lamp
In the gathering shadows.
We play wine games
And recite each other's poems.
Then you sing `Remembering South of the River'
With its heart breaking verses. Then
We paint each other's beautiful eyebrows.
I want to possess you completely -
Your jade body
And your promised heart.
It is Spring.
Vast mists cover the Five Lakes.
My dear, let me buy a red painted boat
And carry you away.
"Bitter rain in my courtyard
In the decline of Autumn,
I only have vague poetic feelings
That I cannot bring together.
They diffuse into the dark clouds
And the red leaves.
After the yellow sunset
The cold moon rises
Out of the gloomy mist.
I will not let down the blinds
Of spotted bamboo from their silver hook.
Tonight my dreams will follow the wind,
Suffering the cold,
To the jasper tower of your beautiful flesh."
The double doors
"I have closed the double doors.
In what corner of the heavens is she?
A horizontal flute
Beyond the red walls
Blown as gently as the breeze
Blows the willow floss.
In the lingering glow of the sunset
The roosting crows ignore my melancholy.
Once again I languidly get out of bed.
After I have burned incense,
I loiter on the jeweled staircase.
I regret the wasted years,
Sick, afraid of the cold, afraid of the heat,
While the beautiful days went by.
Suddenly it is the Autumn Feast of the Dead.
Constantly disturbed by the changing weather,
I lose track of the flowing light
That washes us away.
Who moved the turning bridges
On my inlaid psaltery?
I realize -
Of the twenty five strings
Twenty one are gone."
Trans. by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung
Go to Wu Tsao's page.