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Li Ching Chao

Last Night

Last
night
thin
rain,
gusty
wind.

Dense
sleep
doesn't
fade
a wine
hangover.

I'm talking
to her
who
rolled up
the curtains.

[...] Read more

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At a Poetry Party I Am Given the Rhyme Chih

Although I've studied poetry for thirty years
I try to keep my mouth shut and avoid reputation.
Now who is this nosy gentleman talking about my poetry
Like Yang Ching-chih
Who spoke of Hsiang Ssu everywhere he went.

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Our Boat Starts At Night

Our boat starts at night
from the beach of Yen Kuang.

Great ships sail only for profit
Only small boats come here because of your fame.
The passers-by are embarrassed by your virtue.
So in the night we steal by the place where you used to fish.

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As in a Dream

To the melody of "Ru Meng Lin"

Last night in the light rain as rough winds blew,
My drunken sleep left me no merrier.
I question one that raised the curtain, who
Replies: "The wild quince trees -- are as they were."
But no, but no!
Their rose is waning, and their green leaves grow.

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Tz'u No. 2 (Wine Joy)

To the tune "As in a Dream"

I have long remembered
the pavilion
on the stream
the falling sun
so deep in wine
we did not know
the way home
how pleasure spent
late returning
the skiff
thoughtless
entered
a lotus deep place
and struggling through
struggling through
we scared up
from the sand
gulls and herons.

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Tz'u No. 3

To the tune "Red Lips"

Tired of swinging
indolent
I rise with a slender hand
put right
my hair
the dew thick
on frail blossoms
sweat seeping through
my thin robe
and seeing
my friend come
stockings torn
gold hairpins askew
I walk over
blushing
lean against the door
turn my head
grasp the dark green plums

[...] Read more

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The Sun Sets in Molten Gold

The sun sets in molten gold.
The evening clouds form a jade disk.
Where is he?
Dense white mist envelops the willows.
A sad flute plays “Falling Plum Blossoms.”
How many Spring days are left now?
This Feast of Lanterns should be joyful.
The weather is calm and lovely.
But who can tell if it
Will be followed by wind and rain?

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To the Tune

Breeze soft, sun frail, spring still early.
In a new lined dress my heart was refreshed,
But when I rose from sleep I felt a chill.
I put plum blossoms in my hair.
Now they are withered.
Where is my homeland?
I forgot it only when drunk.
The sandal wood incense burned out while I slept.
Now the perfume has gone,
But the wine has not gone.

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Tz'u No. 5

To the tune of "Like a Dream"

I always remember the sunset
over the pavilion by the river,
so tipsy we could not find our way home.

Our interest exhausted, the evening late,
we tried to turn the boat homeward.
By mistake, we entered deep within the lotus bed.

Row! Row the boat!

A flock of herons, frightened,
suddenly flew skyward.

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Tz'u No. 15

To the tune of "Rinsing Silk Stream"

Thousands of light flakes of crushed gold
for its blossoms,
Trimmed jade for its layers of leaves.
This flower has the air of scholar Yen Fu.
How brilliant!

Plum flowers are too common;
Lilacs too coarse when compared.
Yet, its penetrating fragrance
drives away my fond dreams
of far away places.
How merciless!

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