Li Shang Yin’s Untitled Poems

Li Shang Yin (813-858) is a well-known Tang poet who wrote so many poems that he simply titled some of them “Poems in Four Lines”, which I translate as Untitled. Here are excerpts from two of them:

 

(1) Meeting was hard and parting was harder,

Flowers wither when the winds turn weaker,

 

Silk is exhausted when the silkworm dies,

Tears will cease when candles become ashes.

 

(2) The winds and the stars last night

Drew us together at the east hall of the Western tower;

 

We had not the phoenix’s wings,

But had hearts linked by magical powers.

 

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