The Inlaid Harp by Li Shang-Yin

I wonder why my inlaid harp has fifty strings,
Each with its flower-like fret an interval of youth.
. . . The sage Chuang-tzu is day-dreaming, bewitched by butterflies,
The spring-heart of Emperor Wang is crying in a cuckoo,
Mermen weep their pearly tears down a moon-green sea,
Blue fields are breathing their jade to the sun. . .
And a moment that ought to have lasted for ever
Has come and gone before I knew.

translated by Witter Bynner & Kiang Kang-hu

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