Saturday, December 03, 2005


our forty years

our forty years

of rivers and mountains

the dragon’s tower

the phoenix in the attic

came down after

a chat up there

in the mist

trees of emerald

once the immortals

were with us alive

I was ignorant

of war

made a better

exile than king

look how thin

how grey

my words now

are you moved?

no court ladies cry

these thousand years since

but a ghost can still

taste his poison


the season half gone

Spring parts from itself

in the time since we’ve parted

the falling plum blossoms

come whirling like snow

I brush them away

but I’m covered again

wild geese bring me no tidings

parting is like the rich Spring grass

even in dreams

my country too far


longing for the south

it’s an idle dream

grass, flowers thrive

the south is far

but the whole country

can hear the orchestra

choke in the dust

of dreamers

in their carriages

come out to view

flowers of Spring


the south – late autumn

in its dream

cold shrouds the mountains, rivers

a lonely rowboat

anchors in reeds

whistling from the tower’s top

to lure the moon along


longing for the southern Spring

the carriages run like water there

in the imperial garden

horses are like dragons there

the flowers and moon of Spring


o my tears

when weeping

stay away from

the phoenix’ flute

it’s a sure route

to a broken heart


no return


I climb the western tower

the moon comes

like a hook

parasol trees

in the deep courtyard

where clear autumn

is kept

no cutting

the ravelled knot

of parting

holds my soul



moonlight tortures the exile’s soul


recalling one’s country

when the moon is full

and ways are lit

then one might

travel the long chill night

to find

jade balustrades

carved halls

still stand

but the rosy visage

of a childhood


spring flowers

and autumn moon


but never

the ones we knew


the unwilling guest

beyond the curtain of the rain

Spring hastens its steps departing

silk quilt too warm now summer’s come

the soul in its icy dawn remains

as in a dream

eyes newly old

scan boundless lands

no longer mine

from this balcony

so far from heaven


in my dream

life was never

proof against woe

my soul is gnawed

with unwept tears

in my dream

I return to my country

not to war

not to rule

not to be king again

will you mount

to the tower

with me

just this once more?

there never was finer

than this autumn day


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