Poems of Yu Xuanji
Beyond Han River, for Zi'an
At Yangzi River, north and south, gazing with regrets,
Missing you, remembering you, uselessly I chant.
Mandarin ducks are warm together on the sandy banks
Or idly flying over orchards of oranges.
Out of the mists comes distant, melancholy singing,
And the moonlight on this crossing only makes me sad.
Cherishing you, you are right here. But everywhere,
From every home, I hear the same faint discord.
This poem must be from the period between Yu Xuanji's finishing her training and the onset of her illness. She has travelled on the rivers to where the Han enters the Yangzi. Zi'an is the husband she left behind to follow her Daoist faith. But this poem is more evidence that the two remained in love. Mandarin ducks (鸳鸯) are a symbol of enduring love. She sees, everywhere, both enduring love and the discord that finds all lovers, only some of whom endure.