To One Unnamed - Parts I and II
by Li Shangyin (813-858C) 

You said you would come, but you did not,
and you left me with no other trace
Than the moonlight on your tower at the fifth-watch bell.

I cry for you forever gone, I cannot waken yet,
I try to read your hurried note,
I find the ink too pale.

...Blue burns your candle in its kingfisher-feather lantern
And a sweet breath steals from your hibiscus-broidered curtain.

But far beyond my reach is the Enchanted Mountain,
And you are on the other side, ten thousand peaks away.

II.

A misty rain comes blowing with a wind from the east,
And wheels faintly thunder beyond Hibiscus Pool.

...Round the golden-toad lock, incense is creeping;
The jade tiger tells, on its cord, of water being drawn
A great lady once, from behind a screen, favoured a poor youth;

A fairy queen brought a bridal mat once
for the ease of a prince and then vanished.

...Must human hearts blossom in spring, like all other flowers?
And of even this bright flame of love, shall there be only ashes?

From Wikipedia: Li Shangyin (c. 813–858), courtesy name Yishan (義山), was a Chinese poet of the late Tang Dynasty, born in Henei (now Qinyang, Henan). Along with Li He, he was much admired and "rediscovered" in the 20th century by young Chinese writers for the imagist quality of his poems. He is particularly famous for his tantalizing "no title" (無題) poems.

Leave a Reply