Standing alone in Spring, whose courtyard is this?
Briskly, east wind overspills the wall,
A thousand trees of sudden burning snow,
pear blossom’s fragrance scorching lane and trail.
Night descends, they beacon back the moon.
At daybreak, they’re caressed by misty cool.
While Qingming*’s coming, they’re first to grasp Spring’s soul,
making this far-off place beautiful.
I’m wondering: were they beings cast down
to earth, to experience, whole, life’s jail?
In cold night dreams they still remember lightness,
home beyond the cloudy mountains’ rail.
* The Qingming or Ching Ming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day in English, is a traditional Chinese festival on the first day of the fifth solar term of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. This makes it the 15th day after the Spring Equinox, either 4 or 5 April in a given year. Other common translations include Chinese Memorial Day and Ancestors' Day.
Translated by Jennifer Zeng and Damian Robin