Tune: “The Beautiful Lady Yu” by Li Yü

When will the last flower fall, the last moon fade?
So many sorrows lie behind.
Again last night the east wind filled my room—
O gaze not on the lost kingdom under the bright moon.

Still in her light my palace gleams as jade
(Only from bright cheeks beauty dies).
To know the sum of human suffering
Look at this river rolling eastward in the spring.

translated by Cyril Birch

Returning To My Retreat by Ch’en T’uan

Through the red dust I tramped for ten years
green mountains though were often in my dreams
a purple cord brings fame but can’t compare to sleep
crimson gates are grand but having less is better
how sad to hear swords guarding a feeble lord
how depressing the songs of noisy drunks
I’m taking my old books back to my retreat
to wildflowers and birdsongs and the same old spring

translated by Red Pine