Chinese Poem

Digital Print on Silk(c) Ann Isik 2011

Digital Print on Silk
(c) Ann Isik 2011

“Li Fu-Jen

The sound of her silk skirt has stopped.
On the marble pavement dust grows.
Her empty room is cold and still.
Fallen leaves are piled against the doors.
Longing for that lovely lady
How can I bring my aching heart to rest?

The above poem was written by Wu-ti (187-57 b.c.) when his mistress, Li Fu-jen, died. Unable to bear his grief, he sent for wizards from all parts of China, hoping that they would be able to put him into communication with her spirit. At last one of them managed to project her shape on to a curtain. The emperor cried:

Is it or isn’t it?
I stand and look.
The swish, swish of a silk skirt.
How slow she comes!”

From 170 Chinese poems. Translations: Arthur Waley
Pub: Constable & Co Ltd, London, 1918

The poem’s about bereavement.
Ezra Pound also translated this poem. I’m a fan. And a fan of Imagist poetry. I want that

red wheel


I’ve been pointed in the direction of haiku this weekend. It’s been a bit of an agonised weekend. Re-reading this poem has revealed I’m suffering a bereavement, of sorts. And I have to let go or I will thwart my journey.  No time now for shadows on curtains. I’m calm.

Haiku is hesychasm. Is about listening.

Powerful stuff poetry.


About AnnIsikArts

This entry was posted in Haiku Writing, Imagism, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Chinese Poem

  1. Hope to read a haiku by you.


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