After eating lunch, I feel so sleepy.
Waking later, I sip two bowls of tea,
then notice shadows aslant, the sun
already low in the southwest again.
China's Emperor, craving beauty that might shake an empire,
Was on the throne for many years, searching, never finding,
Till a little child of the Yang clan, hardly even grown,
Bred in an inner chamber, with no one knowing her,
In the tenth year of Yuanhe I was banished and demoted to be assistant official in Jiujiang. In the summer of the next year I was seeing a friend leave Penpu and heard in the midnight from a neighbouring boat a guitar played in the manner of the capital. Upon inquiry, I found that the player had formerly been a dancing-girl there and in her maturity had been married to a merchant. I invited her to my boat to have her play for us. She told me her story, heyday and then unhappiness. Since my departure from the capital I had not felt sad; but that night, after I left her, I began to realize my banishment. And I wrote this long poem -- six hundred and twelve characters.
I was bidding a guest farewell, at night on the Xunyang River,
Where maple-leaves and full-grown rushes rustled in the autumn.
Boundless grasses over the plain
Come and go with every season;
Wildfire never quite consumes them --
They are tall once more in the spring wind.
We share all these disappointments of failing
autumn a thousand miles apart. This is where
autumn wind easily plunders courtyard trees,
but the sorrows of distance never scatter away.