Very few visitors or lovers
come through this alley to this hidden door
and as for someone I can really cherish
I meet him only in dreams
perfumed gauze and damask–
whose empty seat at the banquet?
songs carried on the wind–
coming from what pavilion?
around here it’s mostly army drums
disrupting morning sleep
nothing but magpies in the courtyard
clattering through spring sorrow
how could I hope to have any part
in the world of grand events
my own life at such a distance
and no place to tie up my boat?
translated by David Yooung & Jiann I. Lin