The Poetical Quotidian
A FAITHFUL WIFE
by Chang Chi (from the 9th century)
translated by Kenneth Rexroth
You know I have a husband.
Why did you give me these two glowing pearls?
I could acknowledge your love
And sew them on my red dress,
But I come from a noble family,
Courtiers of the Emperor.
My husband is an officer in the Palace Guard.
Of course i realize that your intentions
Are pure as the light of Heaven,
But I have sworn to be true to my husband
In life and in death,
So I must give back your beautiful pearls,
With two tears to match them.
Why didn't I meet you
Before I was married?
Poetical Quotidian Index
PWHK Studio Home