Tuesday Poem

A Poem of Changgan
Li Bo

When my bangs hung about my forehead
I played by the gates, bending off flowers;

Riding on a horse of bamboo, you come
Circling the well in play, infant plums in hand:

Two children without dislike or suspicion,
Living in the lands of the boatsmen.

At fourteen I became your wife.
My shy cheeks widened for laughter not once.

I lowered my head to a dark wall;
Beckoned a thousand times, I answered not once.

Only at fifteen my eyebrows opened to you:
I would follow you as ashes mix with dust.

I gave you my antique promise.
I won't climb the look-out for you.

At sixteen you traveled far beyond the Gorge,
Where the Horse-Head Rocks pile high.

Beware the month of May- there
The apes call of sorrow, the heavens wail.

Your footsteps at the gates
Grew of green moss,

Moss deeper than broom sweepings. Leaves fell–
By autumn wind. Early this year.

In August butterflies turn yellow, pair by pair,
Flying over the grass in the Western Garden.

They hurt your wife, pair by pair.
She frets on a chair for her cheeks growing old.

Tell me in a letter
When you will come down from Sanba.

I will meet you– nowhere is far—
Even on the Sands of Lasting Wind.

Translation: Kevin Tsai

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