After one single parting,
in two lands, we're lovesick.
You said it would just be three or four months –
who could have known it would be five or six years?
I haven’t the heart to play the seven-stringed qin;
I've no way to send you an eight-lined letter.
Our rings of nine links are torn from their hubs;
at the ten-mile pavilion, I gaze till my eyes water.
A hundred thoughts,
a thousand memories –
ten thousand frustrations to blame you for!
I’ve got ten thousand phrases and one thousand words –
far more than I can say;
I’ve been bored a hundred times,
and leaned over the rail ten more.
Climbing high on the Double Ninth,
I see wild geese all alone;
in the eighth month, at Mid-Autumn,
though people aren’t, the moon’s whole.
In the seventh month, burning incense,
I hold candles to ask Heaven questions;
in the sixth month, at the height of summer,
everyone’s waving fans, but my heart’s cold.
In the fifth month, fiery pomegranates
meet the cold rain that waters the flowers;
in the fourth month, unripened loquats –
with my heart in a mess, I look in a mirror.
third-month peach blossoms follow river turnings;
second-month kites break their strings.
Ah! Husband, my husband, in the life after this one
may you come back as a woman, and I as a man.