(551– 479 ( BC) / China)

The Plaint Of King Yew's Forsaken Wife

Poem by Confucius

The fibres of the white-flowered rush
Are with the white grass bound.
So do the two together go,
In closest union found.
And thus should man and wife abide,
The twain combined in one;
But this bad man sends me away,
And bids me dwell alone.

Both rush and grass from the bright clouds
The genial dew partake.

Kind and impartial, nature's laws
No odious difference make.
But providence appears unkind;
Events are often hard.
This man, to principle untrue,
Denies me his regard.

Northward the pools their waters send,
To flood each paddy field;
So get the fields the sap they need,
Their store of rice to yield.
But that great man no deed of grace
Deigns to bestow on me.
My songs are sighs. At thought of him
My heart aches wearily.

The mulberry branches they collect,
And use their food to cook;
But I must use a furnace small,
That pot nor pan will brook.
So me that great man badly treats,
Nor uses as his wife,
Degrades me from my proper place,
And fills with grief my life.

The bells and drums inside the court
Men stand without and hear;
So should the feelings in my breast,
To him distinct appear.
All-sorrowful, I think of him,
Longing to move his love;
But he vouchsafes no kind response;
His thoughts far from me rove.

The marabow stands on the dam,
And to repletion feeds;
The crane deep in the forest cries,
Nor finds the food it needs.
So in my room the concubine
By the great man is placed;
While I with cruel banishment
Am cast out and disgraced.

The yellow ducks sit on the dam,
With left wing gathered low;
So on each other do they lean,
And their attachment show.
And love should thus the man and wife
In closest concord bind;
But that man turns away from me,
And shows a fickle mind.

When one stands on a slab of stone,
No higher than the ground,
Nothing is added to his height;--
Low with the stone he's found.
So does the favorite's mean estate
Render that great man mean,
While I by him, to distance sent,
Am pierced with sorrow keen.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 18, 2010

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