Clouds Above

By Liu Yong (987-1053), Translated by Frank Watson
Clouds above the mountain top,
About the river of night and day;
Looking out at the meadow crop,
Her face arrayed in the misty spray.
A thousand autumns pass,
Leaving my eyes in a frozen state;
Looking to go home, at last,
I feel our life’s divided fate.
I gaze, but letters no longer console—
Their perfumed scent has faded;
I fly alone, without a soul,
A wild goose, unaided.
Landing on an islet, exposed

Cold Wind

Many years ago, this day,
As lingering clouds
Brought out the morning rays,
I heard the east wind drown
In the sound of the ocean spray.
She came in nightly
On a foaming swell,
Lady floating lightly
On a seaborne shell.
“Oh bury me not
In the deep blue sea;
Oh bury me not
Where the cold wind flees.”
I carried her home
For miles and miles . . .
If only I’d known
It was just for a while.
The words unsaid, undone—
Gone before our time had run.

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