To the Melody A Blooming Plum by Li Qingzhao

The Fragrant red lotuses have Withered away,
My jade-like mat turns cool on autumn day
Lightly putting off my skirt or silky coat,
Alone I boarded the pretty boat
Looking back, the wild geese fly
Who’s to send me a letter through clouds sky?
My west chamber window’s full of moonlight
Flowers drift alone out of the smell
The creek running alone is natural
There’s one kind of love sickness
Coming from two places with sadness
No way could cure such a sickness
Just falling down from my eyebrows
Into my heart with sorrows

translated by Zhu Manhua
with thanks to Qiaoen for passing it my way

Song by Ch’in Kuan

Pleading eyebrows, intoxicating eyes!
When I first looked at you, I knew my heart was lost.

Do you remember that time in the west–
your billowing, cloudlike hair,

your best silk stockings, your lilac tongue?
You said to me, “When was I treated so well?”

But before the clouds and rain,
east winds blew everything away.

I’m grieving still,
but heaven doesn’t hear.

translated by Sam Hamill

Farewell Song by Ch’in Kuan

Faint clouds caress the mountains
where blue sky enters dry grass.

From the watchtower, a lone horn sounds.
Suddenly, I want to stop my little boat

and share a farewell cup of wine.
Our time together was a glimpse of paradise.

But it is futile to remember—
only the mist remains.

translated by Sam Hamill

Rain during the Cold Food Festival by Su Tung-p’o

This is my third Cold Food Festival
since I was exiled to Huang-chou.

Each parting spring, each year, I grieve.
Nevertheless, each passes–no regret.

This year there’s pestilential rain,
the past two months dark as autumn.

I lie still, listening to cherry blossoms fall
into snow, pink and growing muddy.

Of what steals things in the dark,
the strangest arrives at midnight:

as though a young man went to bed
only to wake and find his hair turned white.

translated by Sam Hamill