To The Tune “Plum Blossoms Fall And Scatter” by Li Ch’ing-chao

Leonard Durso

The perfume of the red water lilies
Dies away. The Autumn air
Penetrates the pearl jade curtain.
Torches gleam on the orchid boats.
Who has sent me a message
Of love from the clouds? It is
The time when the wild swans
Return. The moonlight floods the women’s
Quarters. Flowers, after their
Nature, whirl away in the wind.
Spilt water, after its nature
Flows together at the lowest point.
Those who are of one being
Can never stop thinking of each other.
But, ah, my dear, we are apart,
And I have become used to sorrow.
This love–nothing can ever
Make it fade or disappear.
For a moment it was on my eyebrows,
Now it is heavy in my heart.

translated by Kenneth Rexroth

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