The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter

After Li Po

While my hair was still cut straight
  across my forehead
I played at the front gate, pulling
  flowers.
You came by on bamboo stilts, playing
  horse,
You walked about my seat, playing with
  blue plums.
And we went on living in the village of
  Chokan:
Two small people, without dislike or
  suspicion.

At fourteen I married My Lord you.
I never laughed, being bashful.
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall.
Called to, a thousand times, I never
  looked back.

At fifteen I stopped scowling,
I desired my dust to be mingled with
  yours
Forever and forever and forever.
Why should I climb the lookout?

At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-en, by the river
  of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise
  overhead.

You dragged your feet when you went
  out,
By the gate now, the moss is grown,
  the different mosses,
Too deep to clear them away!
The leaves fall early this autumn, in
  wind.
The paired butterflies are already
  yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me. I grow older.
If you are coming down through the
  narrows of the river Kiang,
Please let me know beforehand,
And I will come out to meet you
  As far as Cho-fu-sa.

Translated by Ezra Pound

Anonymous submission.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Ezra Pound

Ezra Weston Loomis Pound was an American expatriate poet and critic of the early modernist movement. more…

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"The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 14 Jul 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/13392/the-river-merchant's-wife:-a-letter>.

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