Li Qingzhao: Written to the Tune “The Fisherman’s Honor”

Written to the Tune “The Fisherman’s Honor”

The sky becomes one with its clouds,
the waves with their mist.
In Heaven’s starry river, a thousand sails dance.
As if dreaming, I return to the place
where the Highest lives,
and hear a voice from the heavens:
Where am I going?
I answer, “The road is long,”
and sigh; soon the sun will be setting.
Hard to find words in poems to carry amazement:
on its ninety-thousand-mile wind,
the huge inner bird is soaring.
O wind, do not stop—
My little boat of raspberry wood
has not yet reached the Immortal Islands.

Translated by Jane Hirshfield

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