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A PENNILESS GIRL
by Chen Yinke (1890 - 1969)
English translation: Zhi Yue

Beautiful silk fabrics are as expensive as pearls,
While inexpensive cotton batting is not sold.
How fortunate there’s still granny’s calico quilt,
Lighting a lamp, cutting it into fashionable clothes.


LINGERING SPRING
English translation: Miao Guang

For unknown reasons,
I come here to bid the lingering spring goodbye;

In the corner of this lake pavilion, melancholy and all alone.

From readings of history,
today’s affairs are already foretold;

Across from the blossoms,
I recall that face from yesteryear.

Even if Zhi Mingdu crossed to the opposite shore,
famine is not expected to resolve.

Unlike Jun Ping who has abandoned the world,
mundane affairs seemed closer.

Sensing Manshan’s intention to make me stay,

Pomegranates red as flames,
and verdant fresh banyan trees.

Lost from torn families and fallen nation,
somehow this body has survived;

Spring inside the guesthouse
feels like the chilling autumn.

Mourning in this falling rain,
over wilting flowers;

Chitter chatter from the windows,
are sounds of chirping sparrows.

Hearts of many already submitted
to days of chaos and separation;

Everything is put to risk
just for the sake of survival.

Chanting with hands hidden in sleeves
waiting for fate to speak,

How can one bear to
let the head turn half white?

── from Chen Yinke Quanji(Complete Works of Chen Yinke)