A Night of Flower and Moon on the Spring River (by Zhang Ruoxu)
translated by Charles Yung Huang
The tides of the spring river blend into the sea.
Up alongside the tides, a radiant moon is born.
Riding the gleaming waves, it rambles for myriad li.
Nowhere on the spring river does the moon not adorn.
The river meanders around the scented fields where
All the flowers seem like graupels in the silvery sheen.
Floating frost turns into dazzled droplets in the air.
The white sands on the shoals are virtually unseen.
The river and sky form a seamless hue sans dust and grime.
The sole wheel-like moon in the heavens is ever so bright.
Who on the strand saw the moon for the very first time?
When did the river moon first catch someone in its sight?
Generation after generation, life goes on.
Year after year, over the river the same moon prevails.
No one knows whom the moon is shedding light upon.
The river, though, is sending the waters off with no trails.
Leisurely drifting away is a lone white cloud in flight.
Deep in melancholy are green maples by the sandbar.
Who is sailing alone in a little boat tonight?
In the moonlit loft, who is pining for her man afar?
Outside the loft, pity the moon lingering about
That should be brightening the lonely woman’s dresser!
Her rolled ornate curtain cannot keep the moonlight out.
The beams round her clothes-pounding block, bid to leave, still loiter.
Mutually gazing at the moon but nothing heard!
How sweet it would be to shine on him by stalking the moon!
Can notes be flown to moonless lands by the messenger bird?
Can the fish and dragon make ripples to convey thoughts soon?
Last night flowers fell by the idle pond in her dream.
Sadly he has not returned while spring is halfway recessed.
Spring and youth are being washed away by the rolling stream.
The descending moon above the pond yet slants west.
The oblique moon, sinking, is obscured by a mist at sea.
Endless roads to remote hills and rills keep lovers apart.
How many will hasten home by the moonlight---will he?
Untold cravings to the river trees the moon does impart!