To Guo Xiang
Sunset to sunrise I am drunk and singing,
Thinking of you, lovesick, with spring here once again.
There’s an envoy with letters in the rain,
And a broken hearted woman by the window.
Rolling up red beaded blinds, she looks at the mountains;
Her worries renewed like the fresh and fragrant grass.
Since we were separated at your last banquet,
How many times has the dust of your roof-beams fallen?
Translated by Dean Marais
About Yu Xuanji:
Yu XuanJi wrote her first poem at 6 years old. When she was older, being exceptionally beautiful, she was sold as a concubine to an official who fell in love with her. However, his jealous wife forced him to throw her out. With no home or income she had to turn to prostitution in Chang’An. She met many of the poets of her day there, and ended up at a taoist temple where she continued to write poems. The story goes that she was falsely accused of murder, and though many of her poet friends pleaded for her life, she was executed in Chang’An at 26 years of age.