The nimble swan plays in the river pool;
The lonely goose comes to roost on the island sand bar.
For a while by chance the two of us were close,
In thought and feeling together without a break.
Wind and rain blew us apart, east and west;
Once parted we drifted for ten thousand leagues.
I pursue my memories of the times we stayed together,
Your voice and appearance fill my mind and ears.
As the sun falls, the river isles grow cold;
Mournful clouds rise and enfold the heavens.
These short wings cannot soar aloft;
And hesitate here amid the mist and fog.
translated by Daniel Bryant
On the stairway fragrance assails the bosom;
In the garden flowers light the eye.
Once the spring heart is like this,
Love comes without bounds.
translated by Jan W. Walls
Palace at dusk, the pearl blind is lowered,
Drifting fireflies glide and come to rest;
Through the long night I sew a fine silk jacket–
My thoughts of you, when will they end?
translated by Ronald C. Miao
to feel as safe
as when sleeping
on the back seat
of the family car
through the dark night
a glass, a glass, and another glass
and yet not drunk
in that middle state
suspended where you lurk, old friend
where I can find you
drinking with a friend
Talking to her again was good and perhaps necessary. I told her about the new novel. I said that at first I was keeping a steady pace, but little by little I had lost the rhythm, or the precision.
“Why don’t you just write it all at once?” she advised, as if she didn’t know me, as if she hadn’t been with me through so many nights of writing.
“I don’t know,” I answered. And it’s true, I don’t know.
The thing is, Eme–I think now, a little drunk–I’m waiting for a voice. A voice that isn’t mine. An old voice, novelistic and solid.
Or maybe it’s just that I like working on the book. That I prefer writing to having written. I’d rather stay there, inhabit the time of the book, cohabit with those years, chase the distant images at length and then carefully go over them again. See them badly, but to see them. To just stay there, looking.
translated by Megan McDowell
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