Happy Together by Li Yu (translation)

another poem translated from the Chinese by Mary Tang on her blog Life is But This

Life is But This 命

This is a lament of the last Emperor of the Tang Dynasty, Li Yu (937/938 – 978) written while in exile and confined.  It is written in Tang Dynasty style though chronologically belongs to the Song Dynasty.

The ironic title of “Happy Together” refers to the song that gives form to the structure of this poem and not its substance.  36 Chinese characters in two stanzas of three and four lines with rules for rhymes and intonations.

Happy Together by Li Yu

Silently and alone I climbed the tower west

The moon is hanging as a hook

A lonely tree cloistered deep in autumn


Cutting can not sever it

Restraint yet chaotic is

The sorrow of parting

Not an ordinary feeling

(c) Mary Tang 鄧許文蘭 2017




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