Chinese Poetry: Sun Yutang - Complaint

Yes, you loved me, just for that wink of an eye-

Like a swallow’s wing-tip touching the water,

a whiff of gentle breeze, leaving no shadow to be caught,

No light to be traced – like the flash of a falling star –

It was gone. You did not mind at all,

But unthinking, untied my anchor chain.

Thus on white sails, swollen with warm dreams,

I flew out a river, across the sea, and soared over the hills,

Through blue clouds I darted into the depth of night,

Losing myself, and missing my road;

All because I took that instant to be eternity,

Thinking that the silver stars were your eyes.

Then you laughed, and that awakened me,

Awakened me to earlier hasty belief.

But, ah, what do you want me to do now?

Now that you have slammed shut forever the door of my paradise.

Sun Yutang (Sun Yü-t’ang), from “The Precious Horse”


Sun Yutang was born in 1905. He did not write poetry for long, but the content is amazing. Sun’s long poem “The Precious Horse” was published in 1939 is a valiant effort to create an epic based on the historical story of the quest for Bactrian horses by the Han Dynasty emperors in the second century B.C. The presented part of poem was translated by Xu Gaiyu (Hsu Kai-yu).


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