Thirteen Poems From My Southern Garden - Poem by Li He
Budding branches, stems of flowers,
Blossom while I watch.
Touched with white and streaked with crimson
Cheeks fo a girl from Yue,
Sad to say, once dusk has come,
Their wanton fragrance falls.
They have eloped with the spring wind,
Without a go-between.
Why shouldn't a young man wear a Wu sword?*
He could win back fifty provinces in pass and mountain,**
I wish you would visit the Ling-yan pavilion,***
How can a student ever become a rich marquis?
* Wu-gou (Hook of Wu) was the name of a famous type of sword used by the southern aborigines.
** Over fifty Chinese districts in Ho-nan and Ho-pei were in the hands of tribal peoples at this time.
*** The portraits found in the Ling-yan pavilion were those of military men who had aided Tang Tai-tsong in his truggle for power.
Seeking a style, culling my phrases,
Grown old carving grubs!
At dawn the moon hangs in my blinds,
A bow of jade.
Can't you see what is going on, year after year,
By the sea of Liao-dong?
Whatever can a writer do
But weep in the autumn wind?
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