With My Brother At The South Study by Wang Ch’ang-ling

Leonard Durso

Lying on a high seat in the south study,
We have lifted the curtain–and we see the rising moon
Brighten with pure light the water and the grove
And flow like a wave on our window and our door.
It will move through the cycle, full moon and then crescent again,
Calmly, beyond our wisdom, altering new to old.
. . .Our chosen one, our friend, is now by a limpid river–
Singing, perhaps, a plaintive eastern song.
He is far, far away from us, three hundred miles away,
And yet a breath of orchids comes along the wind.

translated by Witter Bynner & Kiang Kang-hu

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