untitled love poem by Li Shang-yin

Coming was an empty promise, you have gone, and left no footprints:
The moonlight slants above the roof, already the fifth watch sounds.
Dreams of remote partings, cries which cannot summon,
Hurrying to finish the letter, ink which will not thicken.
The light of the candle half encloses kingfishers threaded with gold,
The smell of musk comes faintly through embroidered water-lilies.
Young Liu complained that Fairy Hill is far.
Past Fairy Hill, range above range, ten thousand mountains rise.

translated by A.C. Graham

5 thoughts on “untitled love poem by Li Shang-yin

    • Yes, it is. I think I mentioned before how Li Shang-yin is a personal favorite. A friend once did one of his poems for me as a calligraphy but unfortunately my ex-girlfriend kept that. That, too, has, in Witter Bynner & Kiang Kang-hu’s translation these last two lines: And a moment that ought to have lasted for ever/Has come and gone before I knew.

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