Poems of Yu Xuanji
What I'm Feeling
Idly walking, I have nothing to do.
In this beauty, I am travelling alone.
Clouds part to reveal a moon on the river.
So I cast off my boat into my ocean.
On my lute, I play "Xiaoliang Temple."
And then I chant the poem "Yuliang Tower."
I have this bamboo thicket to keep me company
And this flat rock will do to be my friend.
Bramble finches become my dear disciples.
I have no desire for silver or gold.
I fill my cup with spring's green new wine
And toast the distant moon from my window.
Rambling round and round this pond of water,
I loose my hair and gaze at my reflection.
I go to bed, reread a lttle something.
Half-drunk, I rise again and comb my hair.
This poem could come from the time she first begins to be ill. The phrase 身无事 can mean "I have nothing to do" or "I'm feeling just fine." The former is more likely. So this poem probably comes from any time after 863.
For some reason, I hear music as I translate Yu Xuanji's poetry. This has not happened with anyone else's poems. Perhaps it is her doing. Perhaps it is my purer approach to her poems. Her poems also make me want to cry. Or the music does. Or both.
Line 4 is more literally "cast off mooring lines, little boat in the middle of the sea." She's describing herself with this. Line 14 is actually "loose my hair, reflection of its fine flow." The flow of her hair, hanging above the water. Pretty.