Red Azalea on the Cliff by Xu Gang

Leonard Durso

Red azalea, smiling
From the cliffside at me,
You make my heart shudder with fear!
A body could smash and bones splinter in the canyon–
Beauty, always looking on at disaster.

But red azalea on the cliff,
That you comb your twigs even in a mountain gale
Calms me down a bit.
Of course you’re not willfully courting danger,
Nor are you at ease with whatever happens to you.
You’re merely telling me: beauty is nature.

Would anyone like to pick a flower
To give to his love
Or pin to his own lapel?
On the cliff there is no road
And no azaleas grow where there is a road.
If someone actually reached that azalea,
Then an azalea would surely bloom in his heart.

Red azalea on the cliff,
You smile like the Yellow Mountains,
Whose sweetness encloses slyness,
Whose intimacy embraces distance.
You remind us all of our…

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