River Song by Li Zhiyi (1035-1117)

To the tune of Busuanzi (Calculating the Future)



I live at the head of the long Yangtze.

He lives in its furthest reaches.

I think of him, each day, but we never meet.

The drink we share is the Yangtze water.


When will these waters come to rest,

or my regrets finally end?

I only hope his heart’s like mine.

Surely, we won’t betray our longings!




Julian Farmer

Translated by Julian Farmer.

Julian Farmer is a poet and translator from several languages, especially French, Classical Greek, Latin, Russian and Classical Chinese. His poems and translations have been published in Acumen, Staple, Stand, London Magazine, Epiphany, SHOp, and Modern Poetry in Translation.

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