A GREEN STREAM
I have sailed the River of Yellow Flowers,
Borne by the channel of a green stream,
Rounding ten thousand turns through the mountains
On a journey of less than thirty miles….
Rapids hum over heaped rocks;
But where light grows dim in the thick pines,
The surface of an inlet sways with nut-horns
And weeds are lush along the banks.
…Down in my heart I have always been as pure
As this limpid water is….
Oh, to remain on a broad flat rock
And to cast a fishing-line forever!
A FARM-HOUSE ON THE WEI RIVER
In the slant of the sun on the country-side,
Cattle and sheep trail home along the lane;
And a rugged old man in a thatch door
Leans on a staff and thinks of his son, the herdboy.
There are whirring pheasants? full wheat-ears,
Silk-worms asleep, pared mulberry-leaves.
And the farmers, returning with hoes on their shoulders,
Hail one another familiarly.
…No wonder I long for the simple life
And am sighing the old song, Oh, to go Back Again!
THE BEAUTIFUL XI SHI
Since beauty is honoured all over the Empire,
How could Xi Shi remain humbly at home? —
Washing clothes at dawn by a southern lake —
And that evening a great lady in a palace of the north:
Lowly one day, no different from the others,
The next day exalted, everyone praising her.
No more would her own hands powder her face
Or arrange on her shoulders a silken robe.
And the more the King loved her, the lovelier she looked,
Blinding him away from wisdom.
…Girls who had once washed silk beside her
Were kept at a distance from her chariot.
And none of the girls in her neighbours’ houses
By pursing their brows could copy her beauty.
ON CLIMBING ORCHID MOUNTAIN
IN THE AUTUMN TO ZHANG
On a northern peak among white clouds
You have found your hermitage of peace;
And now, as I climb this mountain to see you,
High with the wildgeese flies my heart.
The quiet dusk might seem a little sad
If this autumn weather were not so brisk and clear;
I look down at the river bank, with homeward-bound villagers
Resting on the sand till the ferry returns;