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Chang Jo-hu 


Circa A.D. 800

When heaven reveals her primal stainless blue, Alone within the firmament there burns The tiny torch of dusk. What startled eyes Uplifted from the restless stream first met The full round glory of the moon! Yon orb That pales upon the flood of broad Kiang, When did she first through twilight mists unveil Her wonders to the world? Men come and go; New generations hunger at the heels Of those that yield possession. Still the moon Fulfils her phases. While the tides of time Eat out the rocks of empire, and the stars Of human destiny adown the void Go glittering to their doom, she changeless sweeps Through all her times and destinies. Alas! The little lives that swarmed beneath the moon, I cannot count them. This alone I know -- That, wave on wave, the Kiang seeks the sea, And not a wave returns. One small white cloud Threading the vasty vault of heaven recalls My heart unto her loneliness. I sail Between two banks, where heavy boughs enlace, Whose verdurous luxuriance wakes once more My many griefs. None know me as I am, Steering to strange adventure. None may tell If, steeped in the same moonlight, lies afar Some dim pavilion where my lady dreams Of me. Ah, happy moon! low lingering moon! That with soft touch now brightens into jade Lintel and door, and when she lifts the blind Floats through the darkened chamber of her sleep; While leagues away my love-winged messages Go flocking home; and though they mingle not, Our thoughts seek one another. In the lilt Of winds I hear her whisper: "Oh that I Might melt into the moonbeams, and with them Leap through the void, and shed myself with them Upon my lover." Slow the night creeps on. Sleep harbours in the little room. She dreams -- Dreams of a fall o' flowers. Alas! young Spring Lies on the threshold of maternity, And still he comes not. Still the flowing stream Sweeps on, but the swift torrents of green hours Are licked into the brazen skies between Their widening banks. The great deliberate moon Now leans toward the last resort of night, Gloom of the western waves. She dips her rim, She sinks, she founders in the mist; and still The stream flows on, and to the insatiate sea Hurries her white-wave flocks innumerable In never-ending tale. On such a night How many tireless travellers may attain The happy goal of their desire! So dreams My lady till the moon goes down, and lo! A rush of troubled waters floods her soul, While black forebodings rise from deeps unknown And the cold trail of fear creeps round her heart.

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