Li Bai Poem

Two Letters from Chang-Kan-II

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(Another river-merchant’s wife writes)

I lived in my maiden bower,
Unaware of all things of the world.
Since married to you of Chang-kan town,
I wander the river bank to spy the weather.
In May the south wind blows,
I think of you sailing down to Pa-ling;
In August the west wind arises,
And I know you will part from Yangtzu.
You come and go, I sorrow ever,
Seeing you so little, and living so much apart.
When will you arrive at Hsiang-tan?
My dream goes over the wind-tossed waves.
Last night a storm went past in fury,
Tearing down trees on the riverside,
Spreading darkness without end—
Where were you, then, poor traveler?
Would I could ride the swift-drifting cloud,
And meet you in good time east of Orchid Beach!

Oh, the happy pair of mandarin-ducks among the reed,
And the purple kingfishers, embroidered on the gold screen!
Why at fifteen years and little more,
My face pink like the peach flower,
Have I become a river merchant’s wife,
To grieve over winds and grieve again over waves!

On Ascending the Sin-Ping Tower
Two Letters from Chang-Kan-I


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