An untitled poem1
[Tang] Li Shangyin

With our hampered trysts my heart aches to part from you,

When, in the late spring, the blooms fade and wind drops too.

I miss you as long as silkworms to death spin thread;

As candles drip till the wicks burn out, tears I shed.

To see your locks mirrored, the lost youth you’d bewail;

While chanting poems, of the moonlight you’d feel how pale.

’Tis near to your jeweled boudoir on the enisled Mound2;

To show my feelings, let the Blue Bird3 do its round.


--- Translated by Ruogu Zhang

1. Wuti 无题 (the Titleless Poem). It is Li Shangyin that took the lead in giving such a title to his poems, most of which describe love, due to the unspoken assumptions or lack of an appertinent title.

2.Peng Shan 蓬山 (the Peng Mound) , or Peng Dao 蓬岛 (the Peng Isle). Legend has it that the place is inhabited by the celestial beings, which lies in the Bo Sea, off the coast of the Shandong Peninsula. Here it is metaphorically likened to the abode occupied by the lady that the poet loves.

3. Qingniao 青鸟 (the Blue Bird), the magic bird kept by Xiwangmu 西王母 (the Queen Mother of the West) to deliver messages, and hence made synonymous with the messenger in the later generations.