The Tomb of Little Su by Li He

Dew on the hidden orchid.
like crying eyes.
Nothing ties a love knot,
flowers in mist I cannot bear to cut.
Grass like the carriage cushion,
pines like the carriage roof,
the wind is her skirt,
the waters, her pendants.
A carriage with oiled sides
awaits in the evening.
Cold azure candle
struggles to give light.
At the foot of West Mound
wind blows the rain.

translated by Stephen Owen

The Tomb of Little Su by Li He

Dew on the hidden orchid,
like crying eyes.
Nothing ties a love knot,
flowers in mist I cannot bear to cut.
Grass like the carriage cushion,
pines like the carriage roof,
the wind is her skirt,
the waters, her pendants.
A carriage with oiled sides
awaits in the evening.
Cold azure candle
struggles to give light.
At the foot of West Mound
wind blows the rain.

translated by Stephen Owen

Shown to My Younger Brother by Li He

After three years away from you
I’m back at last for one day, and more.
We drink green Luling wine this evening
and I see yellow cloth-wrapped books, like when I left.
My sick bones still exist,
so nothing is impossible in this world!
Why bother to plead with the crows-and-horses dice,
just throw and let them roll!

translated by Tony Barnstone & Chou Ping