On a Historic Landmark
Where hills and valleys crowd toward Ching-men
Still prides a village on bearing the Bright Queen
Who left the palace as the desert's thrall-
Her mark this mound at sunset alone green.
From portraits recognize the face of spring?
Her pendants tinkle; she returns unseen
By moonlight, who taught mandolins to complain
These thousand years in Tartary of her wrong.
tr. Hsieh Wen Tung
(from 'The White Pony. An Anthology of Chinese Poetry', Mentor 1947, Robert Payne ed.)(a beautiful anthology if ever there was one GC)
Thoughts on an Ancient Site:
Birthplace of Wang Qiang
Through flocks of mountains, myriad valleys,
I arrive in Jingmen,
where Ming-fei was born and bred--*
the village is still there.
Once she left the crimson terraces,
there was nothing but endless desert;
only her evergreen grave is left
to face the twilight.
Portraits have recorded
her spring-fresh face;
the tinkle of girdle pendants heralds
her soul's vain return by moonlight.
For a thousand years the pipa
has wailed in its alien tongue,
as if its strings bemoan in song
her tragic tale of grief.
(tr. David Lunde)