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Five Poems of Ancient China and Japan / Five Poems of the Ancient Far East

Word count: 244

Song Cycle by Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884 - 1920)

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1. So-fei gathering flowers


In a dress of gauzy fabric
  Of the "Lien" leaf's emerald hue
So-fei glides among the lilies
  Sprinkled with the morning dew.

Rose-hued are the lotus blossoms,
  Rose-hued, too, the maiden's cheeks;
Is it So-fei's form I follow,
  Or the flowers she seeks?

Now I hear a song arising
  From the lotus bowers,
Which distinguishes the maiden
  From her sister flowers.


2. Landscape


Out across the wave all is bare,
  Not a scarlet leaf!
  Not a flower there!
Only over thatched huts falling brief,
Twilight, and the lonely autumn air.


3. The old temple among the mountains


The temple courts with grasses rank abound,
And birds throng in the forest trees around!
But pilgrims few, though tablets still remain,
Come to the shrine while revolutions reign.
The mice climb through the curtains full of holes,
And thick dust overspreads the 'broidered stoles;
The temple pool in gloomy blackness lies,
To which the sleeping dragon sometimes hies.


4. Tears


High o'er the hill the moon barque steers.
   The lantern lights depart.
Dead springs are stirring in my heart;
      And there are tears. . . .
But that which makes my grief more deep
Is that you know not when I weep.


5. A feast of lanterns


In spring for sheer delight
I set the lanterns swinging through the trees,
Bright as the myriad argosies of night
That ride the clouded billows of the sky.
Red dragons leap and plunge in gold and silver seas,
And O! my garden gleaming cold and white,
Thou hast outshone the far, faint moon on high.


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