The Willow-Leaf

A poem by Edward Powys Mathers

I am in love with a child dreaming at the window.

Not for her elaborate house
On the banks of Yellow River;

But for a willow-leaf she has let fall
Into the water.

I am in love with the east breeze.

Not that he brings the scent of the flowering of peaches
White on Eastern Hill;

But that he has drifted the willow-leaf
Against my boat.

I am in love with the willow-leaf.

Not that he speaks of green spring
Coming to us again;

But that the dreaming girl
Pricked there a name with her embroidery needle,
And the name is mine.

From the Chinese of Chang Chiu Ling (675-740).

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