Feelings Wakened by a Mirror

Old home by a bend of the clear Wei,
gate opening on Ts'ai Ford:
ten years and at last I've returned,
could barely remember the road home.
I think back on places I walked in times past,
recall with a pang the old outings.
Willows stuck in the ground have become a tall grove,
peaches I planted are old trees now.
Most startling are the grownups,
all mere boys when I knew them.
And if I ask about older folk,
half now in graves that ring the village.
All alike sojourners in this floating life;
early or late, each in turn passes.
The bright sun is a bouncing ball,
rising, setting, its glow never still.
People and things day by day change and alter;
lift your eyes and you sorrow at all you see.
And when I think what this means for me,
how could I alone not falter and decline?
Minute by minute the flush of youth drains from faces,
white hairs sprout without number.
Only there beyond the temple gate,
three peaks that keep their old color!

My beautiful one gave it to me when we parted,
but I leave the mirror stored in its box.
Since her flowering face left my sight,
autumn waters have no more lotus blooms.
For years I've never opened the box;
red dust coats the mirror's green bronze.
This morning I took it out and wiped it off,
peered into it at my haggard face,
and, done peering, went on to ponder sadly
the pair of twined dragons carved on its back.
Author of original: 
Po Ch├╝-i
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