In Lukewarm Weather

A poem by Edward Powys Mathers

The women who were girls a long time ago
Are sitting between the flower bushes
And speaking softly together:

"They pretend that we are old and have white hair;
They say also that our faces
Are not like the spring moons.

"Perhaps it is a lie;
We cannot see ourselves.

"Who will tell us for certain
That winter is not at the other side of the mirror,
Obscuring our delights
And covering our hair with frost?"

From the Chinese of Wang Ch'ang Ling (eighth century).

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