Bai Juyi

772–846 / Taiyuan, Shanxi

Remembering Golden Bells

Ruined and ill—a man of two score;

Pretty and guileless—a girl of three.

Not a boy—but still better than nothing:

To soothe one’s feeling—from time to time a kiss!

There came a day—they suddenly took her from me;

Her soul’s shadow wandered I know not where.

And when I remember how just at the time she died

She lisped strange sounds, beginning to learn to talk,

Then I know that the ties of flesh and blood

Only bind us to a load of grief and sorrow.

At last, by thinking of the time before she was born,

By thought and reason I drove the pain away.

Since my heart forgot her, many days have passed

And three times winter has changed to spring.

This morning, for a little, the old grief came back,

Because, in the road, I met her foster-nurse
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