Of Beauty

(after Li-Tai-Po)

Young girls are picking flowers,
Picking lotus blossoms by the river’s edge.
Amid the bushes and the leaves they sit,
Gathering flowers in their laps,
And calling to each other teasingly.

Golden sunlight weaves around their forms,
Mirrors them in the shining water.
Golden sunlight mirrors their slender limbs,
Their sweet eyes,
And the breeze lifts with caresses
The fabric of their sleeves,
Carries the magic
Of their fragrances through the air.

Oh look!
What handsome youths racing
Along the river’s edge, on spirited horses!
Far off, shining like the sun’s rays,
Now between the branches of the green willows
They trot along, in the full flush of youth!

The horse of one of them whinnies joyfully,
Shies and gallops away,
Over the flowers, grass, its hooves pound,
Trampling in a storm the fallen flowers.

Hey! How its mane waves in a frenzy,
Its nostrils hotly steam!

Golden sunlight weaves around their forms,
Mirrors them in the shining water.
And the most beautiful of the young girls sends
Long looks of yearning after him.
Her haughty manner is only pretense.
In the flashing of her great eyes,
In the darkness of her burning glances
Still achingly trembles the unrest of her heart.

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