On A Picture Screen


Whence these twelve peaks of Wu-shan!
Have they flown into the gorgeous screen
From heaven's one corner?
Ah, those lonely pines murmuring in the wind!
Those palaces of Yang-tai, hovering yonder
Oh, the melancholy of it!
Where the jeweled couch of the king
With brocade covers is desolate,
His elfin maid voluptuously fair
Still haunting them in vain!

Here a few feet
Seem a thousand miles.
The craggy walls glisten blue and red,
A piece of dazzling embroidery.
How green those distant trees are
Round the river strait of Ching-men!
And those ships they go on,
Floating on the waters of Pa.
The water sings over the rocks
Between countless hills
Of shining mist and lustrous grass.

How many years since these valley flowers bloomed
To smile in the sun ?
And that man traveling on the river,
Hears he not for ages the monkeys screaming?
Whoever looks on this,
Loses himself in eternity;
And entering the sacred mountains of Sung,
He will dream among the resplendent clouds.


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Return to the Li Bai library , or . . . Read the next poem; On Climbing in Nan-king to the Terrace of Phoenixes

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