Poems of Li Ye
What I'm Feeling
Morning clouds, evening rain, frequently pass by.
Geese depart, men arrive, for each a returning time.
My jade pillow knows well how often I have cried.
My silver lamp lights the void in my not-sleeping time.
Looking up at a bright moon and all my feelings change.
Looking down at the waves below, I want to send you this poem.
But I remember the first time I heard the Phoenix Tower tune.
So I can leave other men alone because all I miss is you.
Historical theories are a species of insanity. Time dumps a little magpie's hoard in our lap. And we try to build a palace of explanations with it. How crazy is that? Now that I have reason to think Li Ye might have been married and because I view her with respect, each of her love poems turns into a pavane for her dead prince. Save me from my own foolishness.
This translation is unusual for me in that it came out lyrical, as in metred, with a beat, songish. This isn't something I try to do. Sometimes it just happens. It's not for me to say whether this is good or not. But I am grateful that the result cannot be sung to The Yellow Rose of Texas....