Climbing the Tower

Climb the tower so I can see in four directions—
An idle day may help to lessen care
I scan the ground the building stands on,
Broad and open, few sites to match it,
The lower sweep of the clear Zhang angling in on one side,
The other bound by long shoals of the crooked Ju,
Backed by humps and flatlands of the wide plateau,
Looking over marshy borders of the fertile streams,
Reaching north to the range where Lord Tao lies,
West touching the barrow of King Zhao.
Flowers and fruit trees blanket the meadow,
Two kinds of millet rich in the fields,
But lovely as it is, it is not my land—
How have I the heart to stay for long?
Facing troubled times, I set off to wander;
Twelve years and more have slipped by since then;
Thoughts forever taken up with memories of home,
Who can endure such longing and pain?
Propped on the railing, I gaze into the distance,
Fronting the north wind, collar open wide.
The plain is far-reaching, and though I strain my eyes,
They are blocked by tall peaks of the mountains of Jing.
The road winds back and forth, endless in its turning;
Rivers are wide and deep where one would ford
I hate to be so cut off from my native land;
Tears keep coming in streams I am helpless to check
Confucius long ago in Chen
Cried out in sorrow, “Let me return!”
Zhong Yi, imprisoned, played the music of Chu;
Zhuang Xie, though honored, sang the songs of Yue.
All shared this feeling, the yearning for home—
Neither success nor failure can change the heart.
And I think how the days and months glide by,
Waiting for the River that never runs clear.
Hoping to see the king's way at last made smooth,
So I may take to the highroad and try my strength;
I fear to be a bitter gourd uselessly dangling,
A well whose waters, though purified, remain undrunk.
Aimlessly I wander, hesitating, halting;
Suddenly the bright sun is on the point of setting.
Winds, sad and sighing, rise up all around;
The sky darkens till all color has gone.
Beasts peer anxiously, searching for the herd;
Birds call back and forth and beat their wings.
Country fields are empty and unpeopled;
Only the traveler pushes on without stop.
My heart, wounded, stirs in sorrow;
Thoughts are gloomy, drowned in despair.
Rung by rung, I climb down the ladder,
At each step a greater grief cramped in my breast
Midnight comes and still I cannot sleep;
Brooding, restless, I toss from side to side.
Author of original: 
Wang Ts'an
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