Four Poems of Departure

Updated September 23, 2019 | Infoplease Staff

Four Poems of Departure

Light rain is on the light dust.
The willows of the inn-yard
Will be going greener and greener,
But you, Sir, had better take wine ere your departure,
For you will have no friends about you
When you come to the gates of Go.

Rihaku o Omakitsu

I. Separation on the River Kiang

Ko-jin goes west from Ko-kaku-ro,
The smoke flowers are blurred over the river.
His lone sail blots the far sky.
And now l see only the river,
The long Kiang, reaching heaven.

II. Taking Leave of a Friend

Blue mountains to the north of the walls,
White river winding about them;
Here we must make separation
And go out through a thousand miles of dead grass.
Mind like a floating wide cloud.
Sunset like the parting of old acquaintances
Who bow over their clasped hands at a distance.
Our horses neigh to each other as we are departing.

III. Leave-Taking near Shoku

“Sanso, King of Shoku, built roads”
They say the roads of Sanso are steep,
Sheer as the mountains.
The walls rise in a man's face,
Clouds grow out of the hill at his horse's bridle.
Sweet trees are on the paved way of the Shin,
Their trunks burst through the paving,
And freshets are bursting their ice
in the midst of Shoku, a proud city.
Men's fates are already set,
There is no need of asking diviners.

IV. The City of Choan

The phoenix are at play on their terrace.
The phoenix are gone, the river flows on alone.
Flowers and grass
Cover over the dark path where lay the dynastic house of the Go.
The bright cloths and bright caps of Shin
Are now the base of old hills.
The Three Mountains fall through the far heaven,
The isle of White Heron splits the two streams apart.
Now the high clouds cover the sun
And I can not see Choan afar
And I am sad.
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