Untitled Poem 3 by Li Shang-yin

East winds hush and sigh, and delicate spring rains arrive:
out beyond the lotus pond, there’s the whisper of thunder:

the golden moon-toad gnaws a lock open: incense drifts in:
jade tiger circles back, pulling silk rope to draw well-water:

the secret love of Lady Chia and young Han led to marriage,
and the Lo River goddess shared her bed with a Wei prince:

don’t hope for spring passion that rivals all those blossoms
burgeoning forth: an inch of longing’s just an inch of ash.

translated by David Hinton


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