Willow trees cast shadows on the bridge. The orioles sing clear and melodious
songs in the garden by Gu-su Tower. My short whip for horses often smell of
Spring fragrance. I remember when our boat was docked at night, sweet dreams
quickly brought us to a deep sleep 2. The meters of poetry were
narrow. The cups were filled with wine. As we snuffed the candle's wick, the
arrow of the water clock hastened its pace. We chased each other in green
fields, and rode waves while a fleet of boats floated shoulder to shoulder
across the pond.
These ten years have been a miserable dream for me. It is as though swallows
are leaving the Western Lake and Wu Palace lacks nests of birds. When visiting
here again, I sigh with emotions. As before, I still order a full pot of wine.
There is a driving rain in the ravine. The spray is angrily slapping the shore.
I wish the remaining ravens could carry me away across the sky. I recall the
time when we stood on the top of this tower. Now who will point out to me the
fragrant grass and sunset clouds?
1 This poem was written while Wu was on a boat docked at Feng-men City during
his journey along the Bai-he (white crane) River on his way to Nanjing.
If one touches a mimosa leaf, its two halves will fold together.
Consequently, Chinese call mimosa the grass whose leaves enjoy happiness
2 When Wu wrote this poem, it had been ten years since his wife left him. In
this sentence, Wu recalls when they were still together.