Mandarin In the Western Garden
(As Translated by Arthur Waley)
The joys of summer are not slow to depart
And my sojourn here likewise approaches its end.
Under my feet crunch the young chestnut shells
As I walk stiffly in this damp autumn grove.
Bright red crab-apples hang upon the boughs
Like the ear-lobes of peasants glowing with frost.
My ears, unhappily, are wrinkled and shrunk,
Much as the poor split ones which have fallen to earth.
The blowsy antirrhinums are fast fading away;
My hair, similarly, is sparse and colourless.
I see some frail diaphanous bladders of Honesty
And must make shift to patch my threadbare garments.
How quickly are the dahliasí yellow buttons undone!
I also, soon, alas, shall be no more.
If you have any thoughts about this poem, Jerome Betts would be
pleased to hear them