"Song," "Song," and "Admonition" by Tzu Yeh, copyright © 2000 by Sam Hamill. Reprinted from Crossing the Yellow River: Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese, translated and introduced by Sam Hamill.

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Feature on Hamill's translations.
Tzu Yeh (fourth century)


Song

Longing, I watch out the open window,
my sash untied, long sleeves dragging.

This breeze lifts gauze so easily,
if my skirt should open, blame the warm spring wind.


Song

Winter skies are cold and low,
with harsh winds and freezing sleet.

But when we make love beneath our quilt,
we make three summer months of heat.


Admonition

When she approached you on the street,
you couldn't possibly say no.

But your neglect
of me is nothing new.

Hinges soon sag on an empty door:
it won't fit snug like it did before.