I have put aside
the pearls you gifted me.
Henceforth I will be adorned
and the bitter taste of tears.
A call at dawn: the last courier
passes, low on the horizon, winging
her way to the capital.
Her jade wings carried no word from you.
For my sorrow I tolerate no messenger—
only the wild geese,
such is our long acquaintance.
My hatred will not drown itself in wine.
The seven seas are not sufficient to quench its fire;
their waters cannot match it for bitterness.
The chrysanthemums are flayed of beauty
and clutter the ground.
The damage is done:
who would gather them now?
I wait alone by the window,
and the night is long in coming.
A fine rain patters on the plantains,
diminishing by evening—
drop by drop,
leaf to leaf.
The gauze of my veil is drenched.
How is it that one word – sorrow – encompasses all this.
Would I were a handmaiden
of the Lords of the Four Skies!
I would shed this mourning robe of scales
and coil myself, mortal,
in your bed of earth.
I extend my claws but cannot reach you.
You are gone from me, though I have searched
to the furthest expanses of the Western sky.