Yet less fortunate than the two Shu generals who were killed in action

And of even this bright flame of love,

 

Li Shangyin
TO ONE UNNAMED 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?


Li Shangyin
IN THE CAMP OF THE SKETCHING BRUSH
Monkeys and birds are still alert for your orders
And winds and clouds eager to shield your fortress.
…You were master of the brush, and a sagacious general,
But your Emperor, defeated, rode the prison-cart.
You were abler than even the greatest Zhou statesmen,
Yet less fortunate than the two Shu generals who were killed in action.
And, though at your birth-place a temple has been built to you,
You never finished singing your Song of the Holy Mountain


Li Shangyin
TO ONE UNNAMED III
Time was long before I met her, but is longer since we parted,
And the east wind has arisen and a hundred flowers are gone,
And the silk-worms of spring will weave until they die
And every night the candles will weep their wicks away.
Mornings in her mirror she sees her hair-cloud changing,
Yet she dares the chill of moonlight with her evening song.
…It is not so very far to her Enchanted Mountain
O blue-birds, be listening!-Bring me what she says!


Li Shangyin
SPRING RAIN
I am lying in a white-lined coat while the spring approaches,
But am thinking only of the White Gate City where I cannot be.
…There are two red chambers fronting the cold, hidden by the rain,
And a lantern on a pearl screen swaying my lone heart homeward.
…The long road ahead will be full of new hardship,
With, late in the nights, brief intervals of dream.
Oh, to send you this message, this pair of jade earrings! —
I watch a lonely wildgoose in three thousand miles of cloud.

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