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Jade Flower Palace

Tu Fu (A.D. 713-770)

Where the streams wind slow and the wind is always sighing,
hoary gray mice scurry among abandoned roof tiles.

No one knows the name of the prince
who once owned this house,
standing there, even now,
under the hanging cliffs.

In dark rooms
ghost-green fires
are shining.

Beside the ancient battered road
a melancholy stream flows downhill.

Then,
from the flutes of the forest,
come a thousand voices;

the colors of autumn
are fresh in the wind and the rain.

Charioteers of gold chariots -- all have gone --

there remains of these ancient days
only the stone horses.

Though the virgins have all gone their way to the yellow graves,
why is it that paintings still hang on the wall?

Sorrow comes and sits on the spreading grass.

All the while singing,
I am overwhelmed with lamentation.

Among these lanes of life disappearing in the distance,

Who can make himself eternal?
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Second Thoughts - David Handy - 1/17/06