Endless Yearning: poem 1 by Li Po (Li Bai)

Leonard Durso

I am endlessly yearning
To be in Ch’ang-an.
. . .Insects hum of autumn by the gold brim of the well;
A thin frost glistens like little mirrors on my cold mat;
The high lantern flickers; and deeper grows my longing.
I lift the shade and, with many a sigh, gaze upon the moon,
Single as a flower, centered from the clouds.
Above, I see the blueness and deepness of sky.
Below, I see the greenness and the restlessness of water. . .
Heaven is high, earth wide; bitter between them flies my sorrow.
Can I dream through the gateway, over the mountain?
Endless longing
Breaks my heart.

translated by Witter Bynner & Kiang Kang-ho

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