Seeing Guests Off at Governor Wang’s by T’ao Ch’ien

Autumn days bitter cold, the hundred plants
already in ruins–now footsteps-in-frost

season has come, we climb this tower to
offer those returning home our farewell.

In cold air shrouding mountains and lakes,
forever rootless, clouds drift. And all

those islands carry our thoughts far away,
across threatening wind and water. Here,

we watch night fall, delighting in fine food,
our lone sorrow this talk of separation.

Morning birds return for the night. A looming
sun bundles its last light away. Our roads

part here: you vanish, we remain. Sad,
we linger and look back–eyes seeing off

your boat grown distant, hearts settled in
whatever comes of the ten thousand changes.

translated by David Hinton

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