Poems of Meng Jiao
Spring Night -- Remembering Xiao Zizhen
Night half gone. Still can't sleep.
Lamp burns out. No moon.
All alone. Standing by the stairs.
Cuckoo sings without cease.
You and I are sworn brothers.
Suddenly, we're worlds apart.
I try hard to be an empty mirror.
But it's been ages since feeling old began.
This is an unusual, fortuitous translation. Not only does each short line naturally translate into a short line but each Tang idiom has a natural English equivalent. This is one of those poems which show an enduring, common humanity.
Cuckoo (子规) is a pun on "Go/Come home!" (子归). Both are pronounced zi3gui1. The bird is a trope for longing for someone's or one's own return. I've been told that only the European cuckoo cries "ku-ku." I suspect this is true. Otherwise, a part of the cuckoo trope would be 苦哭 (ku3ku1) or "bitter tears."