The River-Captain's Wife: A Letter


I with my hair in its first fringe
Romped outside breaking flower-heads.
You galloped by on bamboo horses.
We juggled green plums round the well.
Living in Chang-kan village,
Two small people without guile.

At fourteen I married you sir,
So bashful I could only hide,
My frowning face turned to the wall.
Called after - never looking back.

Fifteen before I learnt to smile.
Yearned to be one with you forever.
You to be the Ever-Faithful.
I to not sit lonely, waiting.

At sixteen you sir went away,
Through White King's Gorge, by Yen Rock's rapids,
When the Yangtze's at its highest,
Where the gibbons cried above you.

Here by the door your last footprints,
Slowly growing green mosses,
So deep I cannot sweep them,
Leaves so thick from winds of autumn.

September's yellow butterflies
Twine together in our west garden.
What I feel -- it hurts the heart.
Sadness makes my beauty vanish.

When you come down from far places,
Please will you write me a letter?
As far as the farthest reaches,
I'll come out to welcome you.


facebook share button twitter share button google plus share button tumblr share button reddit share button email share button share on pinterest pinterest

Create a library and add your favorite stories. Get started by clicking the "Add" button.
Add The River-Captain's Wife: A Letter to your own personal library.

Return to the Li Bai Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; The River Merchant's Wife

Anton Chekhov
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Susan Glaspell
Mark Twain
Edgar Allan Poe
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Herman Melville
Stephen Leacock
Kate Chopin
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson