To the tune ‘Immortals on the river bank’
How deep, profoundly deep, the courtyard is.
The windows are cloudy.
Fog penetrates the closed rooms.
Pussy willows and plum buds begin to show,
As Spring returns to the trees of Nanking.
I grow old in this old city.
Songs of love, moon and wind are gone
With the past.
I am old and have accomplished little.
No one cares for me now.
I wither away like last year’s
I have no desire to light the lantern,
No desire to walk in the last snow.
Li Ch’ing-chao , Complete poems (tr Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung)
New Directions 1979.