lament of Liu Ch'e . . . while elsewhere--

by strannikov

Liu Ch'e's lament for Li Furen

in her silk sleeves is silence sheathed.


each jade tile sprouts jade dust.


in this room soundless cold.


leaves in fallen piles bar the door.


could her consummate soul hide here?


can she hear my heart hold its breath?


 = = = = =

grievance from the jade staircase


why, look! the jade stairs sprouted pearls hours ago

—half the night gone, my gauze stockings are soaked through!

once home, I lower my glistening reed blinds

the autumn moon the brightest white pearl of dew.

= = = = =

her beautiful toilet


grass waves blue by a river blue.

in a willow garden lush shade

drapes dark the young woman's small house

with the lone window, the white door.

the beauty powders her face red

lightly lightly with her white hand.

after the courtesans' house—here,

ignored wife of dissolute lout,

absent, missing dissolute lout

who left behind an empty bed.

= = = = =


the friends' leavetaking


where the peaks north of town turn blue

from where their white water bends east—

that spot is where we both depart:

one, dry grass blown ten thousand miles,

mind and soul of an aimless cloud,

the other, too sad for sunset.

hands barely get lifted in wave:

two horses neigh, turn heads, take paths.