by Yu Xuanji, poet of Tang Dynasty

Bedroom Lament


Fragrant grass fills her hands
as she weeps in the setting sun;
she heard that the neighbor’s man
has just come back from the front.
Swans of the south
had only gone north
just the other day;
now northern geese
are flying south
on this morning, today.
Though spring comes
and autumn goes,
her feelings for him remain;
as autumn goes
and spring comes,
news from him is scarce.
The doors are closed
at this noble house;
no one ever comes:
What has made desolation
pierce the silken drapes?

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Written on 2015-02-18 at 19:20

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jim The PoetBay support member heart!
Country Fog and I agree, this is not a good translation of the poem. It is too Westernized. It is plot driven and indelicate. I do not think Yu Xuanji would be pleased. If you hadn't sourced it, I would have thought this written by a Westerner. It reminds me of Gone With the Wind. Oh Ashley . . .

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
Maybe it's the way that natural images tell most of the story. It's a very nice poem.

jim The PoetBay support member heart!
I've never been able to identify what it is that makes some Asian poetry different than Western poetry. What gives it its unique voice and mood. A serenity, even sadness. Maybe its a lack of judgment, an acceptance for what is.

I need to have a discussion with Country Fog about this. This brings to mind "The River Merchant's Wife."