The Sorrow of Separation1
by Nick Horton
The scent fades fast, wilted red lotus clasped in my fingers, cold on the bamboo mat, as the last blast of autumn blows. Softly, I step aboard this lonely boat, Loosen my silken dress, and listen to the lamentations of the wind. What muse speaks in the language of geese who form letters in their formations? I can read none of it, yet my lips are left wet by that gentle breath violently dragged from my memory — a kiss, like a whisper, too faint to feel. The moonlight hangs over the western chamber. Pedals fall, flutter, and scatter across the river, split to carry them down tributaries apart from one another where they tremble upon the ripples in despair. Hopeless, my heart, a sorrow without rest; The seeds sown in my brow, now surge in my breast.
- Inspired by Li Qingzao’s “Sorrow of Separation”. ↩