dawn 42423

The sun rose while I slept. I had not yet risen

When I heard an early oriole above the roof of my house.

Suddenly it was like the Royal Park at dawn,

With birds calling from the branches of the ten-thousand-year trees.

I thought of my time as a Court Official

When I was meticulous with my pencil in the Audience Hall.

At the height of Spring, in occasional moments of leisure,

I would look at the grass and growing things,

And at dawn and at dusk I would hear this sound.

Where do I hear it now?

In the lonely solitude of the City of Hsün Yang.

The bird’s song is certainly the same,

The change is in the emotions of the man.

If I could only stop thinking that I am at the ends of the earth,

I wonder, would it be so different from the Palace after all? ~Po Chü-I *

*cited: Trans: F Ayscough & A Lowell, Project Gutenberg eBook of Fir-Flower Tablets: Po Chü-I, “Hearing the Early Oriole” (written in exile).

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